Sunday, October 18, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Falcons at Vikings Betting Preview: Falcons (+3.5/-115), Vikings (-3.5/-105)
The Falcons will look for a boost from their coaching change as Raheem Morris is the interim leader after Dan Quinn was fired due to the 0-5 start. Often, a team gives a supreme effort in the first game after a coaching change as the move wakes up a few underachievers as well as providing a heavy dose of optimism overall. Atlanta is going nowhere this season but it could be a much more dangerous team in upcoming weeks due to the switch.
Of course, the defense that allows 31st in total defense (446.0 yards per game) and 30th in scoring defense (32.2) is a huge problem and needs a quick fix. The Falcons allowed 30 or more points in each of their first four points before being more respectable in last Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The team has been dogged by injuries, which includes losing safety Damontae Kazee (Achilles) for the season.
The offense averages 24.4 points and 390.6 yards but quarterback Matt Ryan has been rather pedestrian with 1,472 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. The health of wideout Julio Jones (hamstring) is a question as he has missed the past 1 1/2 games due to the ailment and also didn’t practice Wednesday.
The Vikings have dropped two games by one point but that doesn’t disguise the fact that they have been underachievers so far this season. Minnesota dropped a 27-26 road decision against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday and the biggest hurt may have been the loss of star runner Dalvin Cook with a groin injury.
Cook, who leads the NFL in rushing yardage (489) and rushing touchdowns (seven), didn’t practice Wednesday and said he will take it day by day to see if he is able to play against Atlanta.
Even if Cook can play, look for Alexander Mattison to receive a strong amount of work after he rushed for a career-best 112 yards against the Seahawks. Minnesota has been productive on the ground — it ranks fourth in rushing at 160.6 yards per game — while quarterback Kirk Cousins has been sporadic with production as he has 1,132 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Wideout Adam Thielein has been solid with 29 receptions for 346 yards and is tied for the NFL lead with six receiving scores.
Minnesota has been suspect on defense and is tied for 28th in scoring defense (30.4) and ranks 26th in total defense (404.0). Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been superb with five sacks.
Falcons at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 6
Minnesota badly needs a win to overcome a slow start and a loss to the Falcons would be devastating. This is an opportunity for the Vikings to click offensively since Atlanta has been so porous on that side of the ball.
The Falcons will have an emotional edge due to the coaching change so they should be spirited at the outset. But 0-6 appears to be looming as this is a contest that Minnesota absolutely must win as it heads into a bye week.
Falcons at Vikings Betting Pick:
Vikings 33, Falcons 27
Falcons at Vikings Best Bet for Week 6
Atlanta’s defense has been so porous that it is a good bet points will be scored. All it takes is for the Vikings to be sharp and crisp and avoid red-zone mistakes.
Falcons at Vikings Best Bet: OVER 54.5 points (-110)