Sunday, October 15th
Minnesota Vikings (3-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-2)
A must win for both teams in Week Six. For the Vikings a win is important to keep pace in a very competitive NFC North and for the Falcon’s an opportunity to take a two-game lead in the NFC South.
Minnesota Run Offense versus Atlanta Run Defense
The Vikings 7th ranked rushing offense goes up against the Falcon’s 29th ranked defense through the first five weeks. The Vikings will hit you with two very talented backs in Peterson and McKinnon. Peterson has proved many of his critics wrong this season by showing the veteran is still a major threat to SSG defenses, he is average 5 yards per carry and leads the team in yardage with 366 yards. Both McKinnon and Peterson are blessed with a very talented offensive line that can open up holes for these two talented runners to gain big yardage. DE Beasley and MLB Reed are the keys to the Falcon’s run defense. The Falcon’s are giving up 140 yards per game on the ground and 6 yards per carry. Look for the Vikings to run to the right side of the Falcons defense away from Beasley. The Vikings could have a big day on the ground against a defense that is struggling to stop the run.
Atlanta Run Offense versus Minnesota Run Defense
The Falcon’s rushing attack is led by RB Devonta Freeman who has struggled to get yards averaging under 4 yards per carry so far this season. Part of the problem for Atlanta has been a very inexperienced Offensive Line, especially at the Guard position. That being said it has been difficult for the Falcon’s to get yards to the outside and have had most of their success up the middle, which is mainly due to Freeman being one of the best running backs running the ball inside. This is a weakness of the Vikings and could be exploited by Freeman if the Falcon’s commit to the tough yards up the middle, they will struggle to run the ball to the outside against the Vikings.
Minnesota Pass Offense versus Atlanta Pass Defense
The Vikings have the second best Pass Attack in the league and even with the season-ending injury to Patterson, they still have a ton of weapons. QB Bridgewater leads the SSG in QB Rating with 114.1, his success feeds off a successful running game which opens up their pass attack. TE Rudolph leads the league in receiving yards with 451 yards and has become Bridgewater’s favorite target. It is difficult for teams to double team a receiver because they have so many options, with Wallace, Diggs and Kearse as Wide Receiver options, and then you have Peterson out of the backfield as a talented receiver also. This is a group that is almost impossible to stop so it is about trying to contain them and limit them to short yardage passes. The Falcon’s have talented corners and linebackers, so they certainly have the talent to compete and slow down the Vikings Pass Attack.
Atlanta Pass Offense versus Minnesota Pass Defense
This is an intriguing matchup, as we have the Falcon’s #8 pass offense against the Vikings #5 Pass Defense. Something has to give here and it will be interesting to see who can come out on top in this matchup and could well decide the outcome. The Falcon’s have the #3 ranked QB in Matt Ryan who is completing 71% of his passes, he has one of the most talented receivers in the SSG to throw to in Julio Jones who has missed a couple of games due to injury. He finally appears to be fully fit and will be a major factor in the game today. Ryan has spread the ball around nicely to TE Stevens, Rookie WR Mueller and WR Jones. Like the Vikings, making it difficult for defenses to shut down. The Falcon’s line has done a great job protecting Ryan to giving him plenty of time to find his targets. The Vikings have one of the best pass rushers in the game with Everson Griffin who is tied for the most sacks this season with 7. The Vikes secondary is missing their best corner in Xavier Rhodes and this could be a major problem for Minnesota, they do however have two very talented safeties that will help with passes down the middle of the field.
I think this comes down to the passing games for both teams, the Falcon’s could have the upper hand here with the Vikes weak cornerback situation. So the key will be DE Evereson Griffin against the Falcon’s Tackles. If Griffin can get to the Quarterback this will help the corners of Minnesota and could force some mistakes that the Vikings Safeties will take advantage of. Who ever wins this battle will come out on top in this one.
Minnesota Vikings 28 Atlanta Falcons 24