November 4, 2023, 4:30 pm
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons
Vikings(-110) @ Falcons(-110): O/U 37.5.
Vikings +4 (+170), Falcons -4 (-200)
What a difference a week makes. A week ago this was shaping up to be Kirk Cousins vs. Desmond Ridder. While not a blockbuster viewing appointment, it certainly had it’s own car crash appeal, but now with Cousins out for the year and Ridder getting benched last week, it’s become a no-name, indie art-house flick. We are getting Jaren Hall vs. Taylor Heinicke and somehow there are still playoff implications. Both teams are .500 and a win here will go a long way towards at least giving each team a direction to travel. The Vikings traded for Joshua Dobbs, but are going to give him an extra week on the sidelines to learn the plays and Heinicke is at least a known commodity, albeit not a trusted one.
Main Storylines to Watch
Time to Pivot: The Falcons were supposed to be a rushing team that then threw the ball downfield to set up more rushes, but instead they decided to take the leash off Ridder and he ended up peeing all over the carpet. He had 10 TOs over his last five games and the last fumble was enough to earn him a seat on the bench. With Drake London out for the game, it might finally be time for Bijan Robinson to shine. He’s got all the tools and has been playing well on paper, but he needs to be unleashed in order to properly put his stamp on the game. Expect a season-high amount of carries this week.
Now What? The Vikings have been a pass-heavy team for years and now they are without the two core pillars of that strategy. With Cousins and Justin Jefferson sidelined, will they continue to throw the ball or will they lean on their two-headed rushing attack. The Falcons have a stout rush D, but we don’t really know what Jaren Hall can or can’t do yet. This game has more questions than answers, but Robinson and rookie WR Jordan Addison have answered the bell when needed.
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