Monday, September 22, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 4: Falcons Vs. Vikings

Atlanta Falcons Vs. Minnesota Vikings: ATL -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

How much difference does a week make? Westgate (LVH) had the Vikings favored by -1.5 in the look-ahead line, but it re-opened with Atlanta -3 after Week 3 action.

There's no doubt that perceptions changed after the Falcons whooped the Bucs in front of a national audience, but the Vikings didn't do themselves any favors by failing to cover a double-digit spread either. As a result, the bets on Atlanta are up to 88% so far.

Bottom Line

Simply put, the Falcons are different team with a healthy offense. With Roddy White expected to return, Koetter can design schemes the way he wants to. This group even has the potential to be better than they were in 2012 now that they've retooled their OL. The Minny defense will be improved upon last year, but only because of Mike Zimmer. What they don't have is the talent to execute his schemes the way he wants.

On the flip side we have the debut start for Teddy Bridgewater. I like him at QB much better than Matt Cassel, but he's still a raw rookie. Without AP, the Vikes are having problems running the ball. That puts even more pressure on Bridgewater to do more than he's ready to. He's going to make some mistakes, so it's just a matter of the Falcons D taking advantage. Are they equipped to do so?  A lot will depend on the play of their young corners.  If Atlanta can continue playing with leads, Trufant and Alford should be in a position to pick off some balls since they'll be left alone in man coverage.

I like that Minnesota has decided to go with the rookie at QB, and they are a team on the rise, but it's asking a lot of them to stop Matt Ryan and company in this spot without Peterson.

NFL Pick: ATL -3.

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