Vikings Week 6 Game in Jeopardy as they host the Atlanta Falcons
After a heartbreaking game last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings will be looking to get back in the win column as they take on an Atlanta Falcons team that is in complete shambles. Both teams, who were deemed playoff contenders, have not started the season the way they had hoped for. The Vikings have not been able to play a full, fundamentally sound, football game this year. The Falcons, on the other hand, have not even won a football game this year and are just coming off of a week that saw them fire their Head Coach and General Manager. On top of that, the Falcons announced earlier this morning that they've shut down there facility due to a positive COVID-19 test.
One thing can be said about this Vikings team... they have one of the best offensive lines and running game in the entirety of the NFL. The duo of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison has proved to be unstoppable. They've averaged 160 yards per game and have already tallied eight rushing touchdowns within five games. To make things even better, the Vikings are averaging 5.2 yards per carry, third best in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Cook will be on a week-to-week playing basis as he has suffered an adductor strain that will see him missing some time. Mattison looks like he will get his first career NFL start this Sunday against the Falcons, with Mike Boone serving as his backup, and veteran Ameer Abdullah as theirs.
The Falcons, on the other hand, are still trying to get their first victory of the season. Not only could they be missing their best player in Julio Jones for a second straight week, they might not be able to see another victory anytime soon as their schedule gets extremely harder in the upcoming weeks, and now with COVID-19 starting to become an issue at their facility, might not see one for the rest of the year. In a normal year, this would be the biggest news a team could have, but this year, it's not. The Falcons will now be coached by Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris after the firing of Dan Quinn who went an abysmal 14-23 record in his last two and half seasons at the helm. Morris, who will be coaching his first game since 2011 when he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be looking to turn his team around against a struggling Vikings team.
To say that this is a must win is a very, very big understatement. Both teams are in two of the toughest divisions in the entire NFL and will need to start winning immediately to become relevant once more. At one point, these were two of the most feared teams in the NFL... the Vikings defense and the Falcons offense. This goes to show you that a lot can change in a few years.
Simply put, for a win, the Vikings need to keep the ball on the ground and there defense needs to stop Matt Ryan. Although the Falcons are struggling, the former NFL MVP can still throw up 400 yards whenever he feels like it. If this Vikings young defense can control Ryan and have them run the ball with an un-explosive Todd Gurley, then the Vikings could see victory and start to gain some ground in the NFL North. On the other side of the coin, if the Falcons can control the running game and make Kirk Cousins throw the ball, who has seven interceptions on the season, one more than he had all of last year, it could be smooth sailing for the Falcons.
As of now, the Vikings are set to kick off on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Central / 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The game can be seen live on FOX with Brandon Gaudin and Daryl Johnston on the call. The game can also be listened to on KFAN 100.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis with Paul Allen and Pete Bercich on the call.