Atlanta at Minnesota
Time: NOON (FOX)
Spread: MIN -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Minnesota Vikings are just 1-4 after falling last week the toe Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings are even 0-2 at home where it returns this week to host the visiting Atlanta Falcons as 4-point favorites. The game will air midday on FOX Sunday, and the betting total is at 54 points according to oddsmakers at 5dimes.
The Vikings suffered a heartbreaking loss last week as DK Metcalf caught a 6-yard pass to take a 1-point lead with just 1:42 remaining. That was after a failed pass conversion for 2-points, but the Vikings were unable to push anywhere near field goal range, at any rate. Despite the loss, Minnesota was strong on both ends of the field.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 27 of 39 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, though he did throw an interception and got sacked three times (losing only one yard collectively though). Alexander Mattison was tremendous carrying the ball, rushing 20 times for 112 yards and a long-rush of 25-yards. Dalvin Cook averaged just 3.8 yards-per-carry on his 17 attempts, but he did score the lone Vikings’ rushing touchdown.
The Vikings had five players with three receptions or more, with Adam Thielen leading the way with his nine catches for 80 yards. Irv Smith Jr was good for 64 on four, though Thielen scored both of the Vikings’ TD receptions. Dan Bailey connected on both field goals, including a long-kick of 52-yards. The Vikings really played about as well as possible considering it lost. Perhaps that is why it finds itself still favored this week despite its losing record.
The Atlanta Falcons remain winless on the season at 0-5. To be fair, all five losses have come to high-quality opponents, with last week’s 16-23 loss to Carolina being perhaps the least outstanding of those opponents. The Falcons outscored the Panthers 9-3 in the second half, as the game turned into a field goal fest, even after Carolina’s 17-point second quarter, which basically ended up being the difference-maker in an otherwise lower-scoring game.
The defense was something of an issue for Atlanta last week; at least considering its own offensive struggles.
Panthers’ Teddy Bridgwater threw 27 of 36 for 313 yards and two touchdowns, posting an amazing passer rating of 119.3. Bridgewater is less of a rushing threat post-injuries, but he did attempt three times for just three total yards. Mike Davis had more success rushing, as the running back pushed 16 times for 89 yards, though the Panthers failed to score any rushing touchdowns. Robby Anderson had a big day receiving with the team lead of 112 yards, but both passing touchdowns did not come from Anderson. Rather, DJ Moore (93 yards on four catches) and Davis (nine catches for 60) scored the pair of receiving touchdowns. Overall, Carolina just had too many weapons that the Falcons could not answer and the defense has to “Take the L” for the Falcons in this one.
Matt Ryan did not do that well, either, to be fair. He completed just 21 of 37 and threw pick while failing to throw any TD passes and also incurring two sacks. Todd Gurley kept the Falcons afloat with his 8.6 (!) yards-per-carry on 14 attempts and one touchdown.
Brian Hill was solid on his six attempts too, with 39 yards. Overall, Atlanta averaged nearly seven yards-per-carry, so perhaps it should look to rush more with Ryan lingering and so much production from its top two backs. The Falcons have had its bright spots, but capitalizing on the production of said-spots has hardly been something its offensive coordinator has stressed. It might be time, after all.