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Preview: Minnesota at Atlanta
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, November 29, 2015
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
The Minnesota Vikings aim to bounce back from their first loss since Week 4 and keep pace in the NFC North when they travel to take on the struggling Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Minnesota’s third-ranked scoring defense looks to further frustrate a Falcons’ offense that has committed 16 turnovers in the last six games.
The Vikings squandered their chance to take control of the NFC North with a lackluster effort against Green Bay last week but can stay in the hunt for the division title by sending the Falcons to a fourth straight defeat. Minnesota hopes to continue its playoff push by duplicating last year’s 41-28 home win over Atlanta and picking up its fourth consecutive road triumph. The Falcons have lost four of five since a 5-0 start and are trying to avoid a third straight home loss after a 24-21 defeat to Indianapolis last week. Atlanta has committed four turnovers in each of its last two home contests but remains in position for the final playoff spot in the NFC.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: Falcons -1. O/U: 45.5
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (7-3): Minnesota’s return to prominence has come on the strength of Adrian Peterson, who leads the NFL in rushing (1,006 yards) a year after playing only one game due to a suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The Vikings don’t ask much of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but he has been effective when called upon. Rookie receiver Stefon Diggs has given Minnesota a big-play threat with 12 receptions of 20 yards or more since making his debut in Week 4.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (6-4): Atlanta boasts the No. 1 rush defense in the league (87.4 yards per game) and held Indianapolis to 74 yards on the ground last week after allowing over 100 in two straight contests. The Falcons have moved the ball effectively – they rank fourth in total offense – but the turnovers have been a major concern of late, as they coughed up the ball four times against the Colts. The struggling unit took a hit with running back Devonta Freeman (1,184 scrimmage yards, 11 TDs) leaving last week’s game with a concussion, and with him being unlikely to play Sunday, the Falcons will count on Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the NFL’s leading receiver, to power the offense.
1. Peterson (11,196) needs 41 rushing yards to surpass O.J. Simpson and move into the top 20 on the all-time list.
2. Jones has recorded 31 receptions for 459 yards in the last three games but only one touchdown over that span.
3. Ryan has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the last two meetings with Minnesota, with two of the six scores going to WR Roddy White.
PREDICTION: Vikings 21, Falcons 20