Week 6 Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikingsby Ethan Hewette October 17, 2020 1 comment
The winless Atlanta Falcons (0-5) are headed north to take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-4). Neither of these teams is where they had hoped to be at this point in the season. Atlanta found several ways to lose during the first few weeks but has struggled offensively the past two weeks. For Minnesota, there have been points aplenty, including several for opposing teams. A win for both of these teams would instill some confidence moving forward.
The Falcons have had a year of disappointment. After going 0-5, Atlanta had had enough and fired both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Defensively, it has been a disaster for the Falcons, especially when defending the pass. The Falcons defense ranks 31st in both passing yards and touchdowns allowed this season. Combining the lousy pass defense and middle of the road run defense, the Falcons have given up 32.2 points per game. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and linebacker Deion Jones are among the few bright spots. They are a big reason why the run defense is ranked in the top-16. Jones leads the team in tackles with 37, while Jarrett leads in sacks with 2.5.
Offensively, the Falcons showed some life in the first few weeks. Running back Todd Gurley had 150 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown in last week’s game. At the same time, quarterback Matt Ryan has totaled 1,472 passing yards, and seven touchdown passes. However, Ryan failed to total more than 250 passing yards these past two weeks, and Calvin Ridley, who totaled 339 receiving yards through the first three weeks, had just 136 in the past two. However, Ridley has had four games of 100 or more receiving yards. Also, longtime receiver Julio Jones has struggled to get involved with the offense this year.
For Minnesota, it has been an interesting season. The Vikings are 0-3 in one-possession games this season and have had a potent running offense surpassing 200 rushing yards in two out of the last three games. However, they will be without Dalvin Cook this weekend due to a groin injury. This leaves the majority of the carries to Alexander Mattison, who picked up the pace at the right time as he had a career-high 136 yards from scrimmage last week. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been average this season but will get a chance to go against a bottom-tier secondary this week. One advantage in this one for the Vikings is red zone play. The Vikings offense ranks 4th in red-zone conversion while the Falcons defense ranks 28th.
Defensively, the Vikings have struggled all season. Like the Falcons, the secondary has been a weak spot allowing the 27th most passing yards this season. Yannick Ngakoue has been the sole player able to get after the pass rusher and has totaled five sacks on the season.
Date: October 18, 2020
Start time: 12:00 P.M. CST
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: ATL +4 (-110) | MIN -4 (-110)
Moneyline: ATL +170 | MIN -210
Over/Under: O 54 (-110)｜U 54 (-110)
The Falcons are currently 1-4 against the spread, and there is no reason to think that they will be able to cover this weekend either. While the offense showed flashes early in the season, the likely hood they keep within four points isn’t expected as both teams will have offensive success. Despite losing Cook, Minnesota still has Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who will help Cousins pick apart the secondary.
As mentioned, this will be a sloppy, offensive game, which is why bettors should feel comfortable in this game, reaching 54 total points. Both secondaries have been unable to slow up opposing passing offenses. There isn’t a reason to believe that that will change for this one.
Atlanta likely will jump out to an early one or two-possession lead. However, the Vikings offense will start to get into a groove and storm back before halftime. Then the Vikings will on Mattison and the quick passing game to carry them to victory through the second half.
Final Score: Atlanta 26, Minnesota 34
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