Vikings-Falcons Predictions: Someone Has to Win, Right?
The 0-5 Falcons traveling to Minneapolis this weekend to take on the 1-4 Vikings is a classic example of a stoppable force meeting a movable object.
These two teams have combined for five playoff wins since 2016 and entered this season with high expectations. They also have long histories of postseason heartbreak and have found all kinds of creative ways to lose games this year. The Falcons blew leads of 20 and 16 points in consecutive games in Weeks 2 and 3 and fired their coach this week. The Vikings have twice lost by a single point.
Barring a tie, one of these two teams known for coming up short will leave U.S. Bank Stadium with a victory on Sunday. They may very well try, but they can't both choke this game away. The bumbling nature of these two franchises – combined with a pair of offenses capable of generating explosive plays – means we could be in for a game that will be more entertaining than the records suggest it should be.
So, who finds a way to win? Let's start with my prediction and then see what the national experts think.
Will's pick: Vikings 28, Falcons 23
I'm not entirely sure what to expect from this game, but I do think the Vikings are the better team. The Falcons worry me for three reasons: the motivation that comes with playing for a new coach, Grady Jarrett's existence, and a strong passing attack with two outstanding receivers. However, the Vikings should have no trouble putting up points by leaning on Alexander Mattison and exploiting an awful Falcons pass defense. I also think Mike Zimmer has his team playing better defense of late, so I think the Vikings will head into the bye with a tiny bit of life after a narrow victory.
Last week's pick: Seahawks 38, Vikings 35. Season record: 3-2
SI MMQB: All six of the MMQB's prognosticators are going with the Vikings in this one. What could go wrong? Full picks here.
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Vikings 34, Falcons 24
The Vikings are the opposite of the suspect 4-1 Bears, one of the better 1-4 teams in recent memory. While Mike Zimmer's defense is slowly improving, Gary Kubiak's offense is a dangerous combination of great zone blocking and big plays through the air. That should be plenty to dispose of the winless Falcons even [though] Dalvin Cook is out. Atlanta interim coach Raheem Morris galvanized the Falcons defense as a play-caller late last year, but there's little reason to think he can stall Matt Ryan 's gradual decline.
Bleacher Report Staff: Vikings 31, Falcons 20
Days after firing their head coach, the Houston Texans looked energized and inspired in an emphatic victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Atlanta Falcons are in a similar spot this week, but our panel is a lot less optimistic about a winless squad on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
Mike Florio, PFT: Vikings 31, Falcons 20
Sometimes, going with an interim coach makes a team instantly better. Sometimes, it doesn't.
Michael David Smith, PFT: Vikings 28, Falcons 13
The Falcons problems go far beyond Head Coach Dan Quinn, and firing him isn't going to fix much.
Courtney Cronin, ESPN Vikings Reporter: Vikings 30, Falcons 27
What does an 0-5 team look like with a new coaching staff but a season likely past the point of being salvaged? Do the Falcons uncover a new identity or form of motivation to rattle off a series of wins under interim coach Raheem Morris? The scheme might not change, but what kind of stops does Atlanta pull out against a Vikings team scratching to keep its playoff hopes alive?
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Vikings 27, Falcons 26
Raheem Morris takes over as Falcons coach with the firing of Dan Quinn. Can he bring some life to this team? The defense is woeful, and now must face a Vikings offense that can run it, even without Dalvin Cook. The Vikings are home for the first time in two weeks and they will find a way to win this one. It might be closer than expected.
Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Vikings 31, Falcons 17
Raheem Morris probably will enjoy a bump in Atlanta’s performance this week. But it won’t be enough. The resurrection of Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry couldn’t make the Falcons a good team. The Vikings take out some early-season frustrations here.
Sam Farmer, LA Times: Vikings 31, Falcons 28
The Vikings came oh-so-close at Seattle and showed some explosiveness they had been lacking. Now, they’re facing a horrible defense and they’re at home, so they should be able to close this out.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Vikings 33, Falcons 24
The Falcons will be playing under interim coach Raheem Morris following the firing of Dan Quinn, looking for a Texans-like spark on the road. Unfortunately, Morris will see the same defensive issues surface against an elite rushing attack, even if Alexander Mattison has to be featured over an injured Dalvin Cook. The Falcons also cannot cover either Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson. Minnesota will dominate time of possession for another week, but this time will easily thwart Matt Ryan.
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