Find out how to watch the Falcons vs. Vikings in Week 1 on Sunday, Sept. 8.
There is a heightened sense of urgency for both the Falcons and Vikings, with their short-term Super Bowl windows never being better than now heading into Sunday's season opener.
The Falcons, of course, lost Super Bowl LI in 2017 when they infamously blew a 28–3 lead vs. the Patriots. Atlanta got to the divisional round the following season and then slumped to a 7–9 mark in 2018 as the defense was decimated by injuries and the offense could not keep up.
This year's defense is healthy, but the Falcons' fortunes remain primarily tied to quarterback Matt Ryan. Coming off his eighth consecutive 4,000-yard season, Ryan remains one of the best signal-callers in the NFL, but there are concerns about his arm strength on deep passes. Still, he has two of the league's premier wideouts in Julio Jones and burgeoning second-year pro Calvin Ridley.
Minnesota's win-now mindset may be even more acute than Atlanta's as quarterback Kirk Cousins enters the second season of his three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract. The Vikings sorely underachieved in 2018, finishing 8–7–1 and a distant second to the Bears in the NFC North as Cousins' solid numbers–4,298 yards, 30 touchdowns and a 70.1 completion percentage–did not translate into week-to-week consistency.
Minnesota is also counting on third-year running back Dalvin Cook to be healthy for a full season, which has yet to happen after missing 17 games his first two seasons, including five in 2018 with a hamstring injury. Cook reminded everyone of his potential in the preseason by breaking off an 85-yard touchdown run, the longest preseason scoring run in club history.
How to Watch:
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: You can stream the game on fuboTV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.