NFL Betting Preview: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, November 29, 2015, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia
Opening Line: Atlanta -2
Current Line: Atlanta -2 (-105)
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Falcons -130 / Vikings +110
Current Money Line: Falcons -130 / Vikings +110

The Falcons host the Vikings in a battle of NFC playoff contenders.
The Falcons host the Vikings in a battle of NFC playoff contenders.

The 7-3 Minnesota Vikings travel to the 6-4 Atlanta Falcons Sunday in a battle of NFC playoff contenders. Minnesota leads the NFC North by a half game over the Green Bay Packers, after Green bay was upset by the Chicago Bears Thursday night. Atlanta is in second place in the NFC South behind the 11-0 Carolina Panthers. However, the Falcons would currently make the playoffs as a wild card.

Minnesota leads the series 17-11 against Atlanta. The Vikings won last year in Minneapolis 41-28 to snap a two game losing streak to the Falcons. The most famous meeting between these teams occurred when the Falcons upset the Vikings in the 1998 NFC Championship game.

Minnesota is coached by Mike Zimmer. Minnesota has road losses at the San Francisco 49ers 20-3 and Denver Broncos 23-20, plus a home loss to the Packers 30-13 last week. The Vikings have home wins over the Detroit Lions 26-16, San Diego Chargers 31-14, Kansas City Chiefs 16-10, and St. Louis Rams 21-18, plus road wins over the Lions 28-19, Bears 23-20 and Oakland Raiders 30-14.

The Vikings were 1 point favorites against the Packers and the total was 45. The Packers took a 16-6 lead into halftime but the Vikings pulled to within 19-13 by the end of the third. Green Bay sealed the win with 11 fourth quarter points to move back into first in the NFC North. The loss snapped a five game winning streak for the Vikings Minnesota is 8-2 ATS and the total is 1-8-1 this season.

Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons began the season 5-0 but have lost four of their last five games. Atlanta has home wins over the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24, Houston Texans 48-21, and Washington Redskins 25-19, along with road wins at the New York Giants 24-20, Dallas Cowboys 39-28 and Tennessee Titans 10-7. Atlanta has road losses at the New Orleans Saints 31-21 and 49ers 17-16, along with home losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-20 and Indianapolis Colts 24-21.

Atlanta was a 3.5 point favorite against Indianapolis and the total was 47.5. The Falcons led 21-7 midway through the third, but would not score again. The Colts scored 17 unanswered points, including a pick six. Adam Vinatieri kicked the go ahead field goal with 52 seconds left. The game ended when Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw his third interception of the game. Both teams combined for seven turnovers, including 4 by the Falcons. Atlanta is 4-6 ATS and the total is 2-7-1 this season.

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Minnesota is outscoring teams 21-18 this season. The Vikings are #3 in points allowed and #23 in scoring. Minnesota averages 330 yards per game on offense including 188 passing and 142 rushing yards. The Vikings are #2 in rushing but are #29 or worse in passing and total offense. Minnesota allows 335 total yards per game on defense including 225 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Vikings are in the top ten in total and pass defense. Minnesota is 49/136 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 48/141. The Vikings have allowed 31 sacks and have forced 23 this season. Minnesota is +1 in turnovers. The Vikings have 3 special teams/defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,106 yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 30 carries for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Shaun Hill is the back-up.

Adrian Peterson has 208 carries for 1,006 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 154 yards. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata will also get carries. Asiata only has 16 carries, but does have 13 catches out of the backfield.

Receiver Stefon Diggs has 36 catches for 573 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mike Wallace has 28 catches for 318 yards and a touchdown. Jarius Wright has 17 catches for 244 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 29 catches for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns. Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen each have 9 catches. Thirteen defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

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Atlanta is outscoring teams 25-21 this season. Atlanta is #8 in scoring. The Falcons average 400 yards per game on offense, including 287 passing and 113 rushing yards. Atlanta is in the top five in total and passing offense. On defense, the Falcons are allowing 336 total yards per game including 248 passing and 87 rushing yards per game. Atlanta is #1 in rush defense. Atlanta is 75/159 on third and fourth down conversions. Opponents are 58/139 on third and fourth down conversions. The Falcons have forced 12 sacks and allowed 18 this season. The Falcons are -1 in turnovers. The Falcons have four defensive touchdowns this season, but have allowed two as well.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 65.5% of his passes for 2,982 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also has 60 rushing yards.

Running back Devonta Freeman has 167 carries for 764 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 48 catches for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out with a concussion. Tevin Coleman has 59 carries for 231 yards and a touchdown.  Terron Ward has 21 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown, along with 8 catches for 65 yards.

Receiver Julio Jones has 89 catches for 1,189 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Jacob Tamme has 39 catches for 446 yards and a touchdown. Leonard Hankerson has 26 catches for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is out with a hamstring injury.   Roddy White has 21 catches for 254 yards and a touchdown. Devin Hester is out until early December with a toe injury. Kicker Matt Bryant is out with a quad injury. The Falcons signed veteran Shayne Graham to replace him.

Minnesota is 4-0 ATS in road games, 6-1-1 in week 12, 5-1 in November, 10-2 on fieldturf, 4-1 against teams with winning records, against NFC teams and after scoring 15 points or less, 7-2 after a straight up loss, 21-6 after a straight up loss by 14 points or more 23-9 overall and 7-3 after failing to cover. The under is 4-1 both overall and in Atlanta in this series.

Atlanta is 2-5 ATS at home, 1-4 after a straight up loss, 1-5 in November, 0-6 overall, 0-5 after failing to cover, 0-4 after allowing 90 rushing yards or less, after passing for 250 yards or more, against NFC teams and on fieldturf. The home team is 3-1-1 in this series recently.

Atlanta has lost three games in a row by a total of 7 points. Minnesota looks to rebound from a poor performance against the Packers. I think the Vikings are a better team. I like them to pull off the mild road upset but it will be close.

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