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Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings Pick & Prediction OCT 18TH 2020

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Killer instinct has eluded both the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings through five weeks of the NFL season, a big reason why the teams enter Sunday's meeting in Minneapolis with a combined 1-9 record.

The inability to finish games ultimately cost Falcons coach Dan Quinn his job this week, meaning players had the chance to hear about the lack of a sense of urgency from a different voice: interim coach Raheem Morris.

"At the end of the day, we have to find a way to put our foot on people's throats and end games," Morris said. "That's what has got to happen."

The Falcons (0-5) in 2020 became the first NFL team ever to squander a pair of fourth-quarter leads of 15-plus points in the same season, a testament both to a quick-starting offense and shoddy defense.

While running back Todd Gurley leads the Falcons' rushing attack with 375 yards and five touchdowns, the Atlanta defense is surrendering 32.2 points and 446.0 yards per game.

The Vikings (1-4) and coach Mike Zimmer are coming off their own collapse. Minnesota was on the cusp of handing the Seattle Seahawks their first defeat of the season Sunday night, but a fourth-down conversion attempt deep in Seattle territory late in the game failed, and the Seahawks responded with the winning touchdown on fourth-and-goal with 15 seconds left.

Zimmer noted Wednesday that the Vikings have played a trio of undefeated teams in Green Bay, Tennessee and Seattle, as well as one club, Indianapolis, with two losses. The Vikings lost to both the Seahawks and Titans by a single point.

"We're getting better every week," Zimmer said. "You've just got to keep getting better, and the wins will come."

Veteran Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who has passed for just seven touchdowns through five games, acknowledged the rumblings about his future with the franchise after owner Arthur Blank spoke to the media this week.

Ryan said he can't worry about what he can't control, and pledged to steer the team on an improved course after enjoying success alongside Quinn.

"Some of the best football that I've played has been under Dan," Ryan said. "I've learned a lot from him in terms of leadership and what it means to be a good teammate. Really appreciated his time here and my time spent with him (and) certainly wish him the best with everything he has going for him going forward."

Atlanta may be operating against an undermanned Vikings offense Sunday. Running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown against Seattle before departing in the third quarter with an abductor strain. Second-year back Alexander Mattison kept the ground game churning, rushing 20 times for a career-best 112 yards.

Zimmer said that an MRI exam on Cook Monday "went pretty well." Cook didn't practice Wednesday.

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was held out of Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury after missing the team's Week 5 loss to Carolina with the ailment. Atlanta may be calling on its defensive line depth against the Vikings, as well. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (back) and defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. (ankle) and Takk McKinley (groin) were limited in practice.

Jaylinn Hawkins also was held out of the team's first practice under Morris, as the strong safety remains in concussion protocol.

--Field Level Media

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Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota Vikings

Player Position Lineup
Ricardo Allen primary: Safety Starter
James Carpenter primary: Left Guard Starter
Tyeler Davison primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Grady Jarrett primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Deion Jones primary: Linebacker Starter
Julio Jones primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Chris Lindstrom primary: Right Guard Starter
Alex Mack primary: Center Starter
Jake Matthews primary: Left Tackle Starter
Kaleb McGary primary: Right Tackle Starter
Keanu Neal primary: Safety Starter
Foyesade Oluokun primary: Linebacker Starter
Calvin Ridley primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Matt Ryan primary: Quarterback Starter
Kendall Sheffield primary: Cornerback Starter
Hayden Hurst primary: Tight End Starter
Dante Fowler Jr. primary: Defensive End Starter
Todd Gurley primary: Halfback Starter
A.J. Terrell primary: Defensive Back Starter
Mykal Walker primary: Linebacker Starter
Charles Harris primary: Defensive End Starter
Luke Stocker primary: Tight End Starter
Allen Bailey primary: Defensive End Substitution
Christian Blake primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Russell Gage primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Matt Gono primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Jaeden Graham primary: Tight End Substitution
Josh Harris primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Brian Hill primary: Runningback Substitution
Younghoe Koo primary: Kicker Substitution
Steven Means primary: Defensive End Substitution
Isaiah Oliver primary: Cornerback Substitution
Brandon Powell primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Deadrin Senat primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Ito Smith primary: Runningback Substitution
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Olamide Zaccheaus primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Keith Smith primary: Fullback Substitution
Sharrod Neasman primary: Safety Substitution
Blidi Wreh-Wilson primary: Cornerback Substitution
LaRoy Reynolds primary: Linebacker Substitution
Edmond Robinson primary: Linebacker Substitution
Matt Hennessy primary: Offensive Linesman Substitution
Sterling Hofrichter primary: Punter Substitution
Tyler Hall primary: Defensive Back Substitution
Takkarist McKinley primary: Defensive End Not active
Jordan Miller primary: Cornerback Not active
Qadree Ollison primary: Runningback Not active
Matt Schaub primary: Quarterback Did not play
John Wetzel primary: Offensive Tackle Not active
Justin McCray primary: Guard Did not play
Jaylinn Hawkins primary: Safety Not active
Chris Slayton primary: Defensive Tackle Did not play
Player Position Lineup
Garrett Bradbury primary: Center Starter
Kirk Cousins primary: Quarterback Starter
Anthony Harris primary: Free Safety Starter
Jaleel Johnson primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Eric Kendricks primary: Middle Linebacker Starter
Alexander Mattison primary: Halfback Starter
Brian O'Neill primary: Right Tackle Starter
Ifeadi Odenigbo primary: Left End Starter
Riley Reiff primary: Left Tackle Starter
Kyle Rudolph primary: Tight End Starter
Irv Smith Jr. primary: Tight End Starter
Harrison Smith primary: Strong Safety Starter
Shamar Stephen primary: Nose Tackle Starter
Adam Thielen primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Eric Wilson primary: Weak Linebacker Starter
Dakota Dozier primary: Left Guard Starter
Justin Jefferson primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Jeff Gladney primary: Cornerback Starter
Ezra Cleveland primary: Right Guard Starter
Cameron Dantzler primary: Cornerback Starter
Yannick Ngakoue primary: Right End Starter
Todd Davis primary: Linebacker Starter
Chad Beebe primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Mike Boone primary: Runningback Substitution
Tyler Conklin primary: Tight End Substitution
Austin Cutting primary: Long Snapper Substitution
C.J. Ham primary: Fullback Substitution
Jalyn Holmes primary: Defensive End Substitution
Mike Hughes primary: Cornerback Substitution
Bisi Johnson primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Brett Jones primary: Center Substitution
Oli Udoh primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Armon Watts primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Britton Colquitt primary: Punter Substitution
Dan Bailey primary: Kicker Substitution
Rashod Hill primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Ameer Abdullah primary: Runningback Substitution
D.J. Wonnum primary: Defensive End Substitution
James Lynch primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Harrison Hand primary: Cornerback Substitution
Josh Metellus primary: Safety Substitution
Dan Chisena primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Ryan Connelly primary: Linebacker Substitution
Hardy Nickerson primary: Linebacker Substitution
George Iloka primary: Safety Substitution
Kris Boyd primary: Cornerback Not active
Dalvin Cook primary: Runningback Not active
Holton Hill primary: Cornerback Not active
Dru Samia primary: Guard Not active
Sean Mannion primary: Quarterback Did not play
Tajae Sharpe primary: Wide Receiver Did not play
K.J. Osborn primary: Wide Receiver Not active
Jordan Brailford primary: Defensive End Did not play

Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota Vikings

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 50 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 12
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 20 Yards
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
    • Pass Receiver: Julio Jones
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • Period 2
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 21 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 8 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
    • Pass Receiver: Calvin Ridley
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
  • Period 3
  • MIN 2
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 40 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Julio Jones
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
  • MIN 6
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 11 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Justin Jefferson
    • Passer: Kirk Cousins
    • Conv Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • MIN 10
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 47 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • Period 4
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 49 Yards
    • Conv Receiver: Justin Jefferson
    • Conv Passer: Kirk Cousins
    • Pass Receiver: Justin Jefferson
    • Passer: Kirk Cousins
  • MIN 2
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 35 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Hayden Hurst
    • Conv Kicker: Younghoe Koo
    • Passer: Matt Ryan
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 2 Yards
    • Conv Passer: Kirk Cousins
    • Conv Receiver: Irv Smith Jr.
    • Passer: Kirk Cousins
    • Pass Receiver: Adam Thielen
  • MIN 7
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 43 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Younghoe Koo
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • @New Orleans L 9 - 24
  • Denver W 27 - 34
  • @Carolina W 25 - 17
  • Detroit L 23 - 22
  • @Minnesota W 40 - 23
  • Carolina L 23 - 16
  • @Green Bay L 16 - 30
  • Chicago L 30 - 26
  • @Dallas L 39 - 40
  • Seattle L 38 - 25
W 40% L 60%
4 6
  • Dallas L 31 - 28
  • @Chicago W 19 - 13
  • Detroit W 20 - 34
  • @Green Bay W 28 - 22
  • Atlanta L 40 - 23
  • @Seattle L 26 - 27
  • @Houston W 31 - 23
  • Tennessee L 31 - 30
  • @Indianapolis L 11 - 28
  • Green Bay L 43 - 34

Next Games

  • Las Vegas(10-14-12) W 20 - 23
  • New Orleans(11-28-19) L 26 - 18
  • @L.A. Chargers(09-23-12) W 27 - 3
  • Tampa Bay(11-24-19) L 35 - 22
  • @Kansas City(09-09-12) W 40 - 24
  • Carolina(11-30-14) W 13 - 31
  • Jacksonville(08-18-18) L 14 - 10
  • @Tampa Bay(10-26-14) W 19 - 13
  • Chicago(12-29-19) L 21 - 19
  • @New Orleans(01-05-20) W 26 - 20

Last Meetings

  • Falcons @ Vikings 40-23
  • Falcons @ Vikings 12-28
  • Vikings @ Falcons 14-9
  • Vikings @ Falcons 20-10
  • Falcons @ Vikings 28-41
  • Vikings @ Falcons 14-24
  • Falcons @ Vikings 24-17
  • Falcons @ Vikings 3-24

American Football Conference

AFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Buffalo Bills73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-13-27-0-3
Miami Dolphins64 0.6001.00.00.0 3-23-26-0-4
New England Patriots46 0.4003.00.00.0 3-21-44-0-6
New York Jets010 0.0007.00.00.0 0-50-50-0-10
AFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Pittsburgh Steelers100 01.0000.00.00.0 5-05-010-0-0
Cleveland Browns73 0.7003.00.00.0 5-12-27-0-3
Baltimore Ravens64 0.6004.00.00.0 2-34-16-0-4
Cincinnati Bengals27 1.2227.50.00.0 2-20-52-1-7
AFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Indianapolis Colts73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-13-27-0-3
Tennessee Titans73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-23-17-0-3
Houston Texans37 0.3004.00.00.0 2-31-43-0-7
Jacksonville Jaguars19 0.1006.00.00.0 1-40-51-0-9
AFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Kansas City Chiefs91 0.9000.00.00.0 4-15-09-0-1
Las Vegas Raiders64 0.6003.00.00.0 2-34-16-0-4
Denver Broncos46 0.4005.00.00.0 2-32-34-0-6
Los Angeles Chargers37 0.3006.00.00.0 2-31-43-0-7

National Football Conference

NFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Philadelphia Eagles36 1.3330.00.00.0 2-21-43-1-6
Washington Football Team37 0.3000.50.00.0 3-30-43-0-7
New York Giants37 0.3000.50.00.0 2-31-43-0-7
Dallas Cowboys37 0.3000.50.00.0 2-31-43-0-7
NFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Green Bay Packers73 0.7000.00.00.0 3-14-27-0-3
Chicago Bears55 0.5002.00.00.0 2-33-25-0-5
Minnesota Vikings46 0.4003.00.00.0 1-43-24-0-6
Detroit Lions46 0.4003.00.00.0 1-33-34-0-6
NFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
New Orleans Saints82 0.8000.00.00.0 5-13-18-0-2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers74 0.6361.50.00.0 3-24-27-0-3
Carolina Panthers47 0.3644.50.00.0 2-42-34-0-6
Atlanta Falcons37 0.3005.00.00.0 1-42-33-0-7
NFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Los Angeles Rams73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-03-37-0-3
Seattle Seahawks73 0.7000.00.00.0 5-02-37-0-3
Arizona Cardinals64 0.6001.00.00.0 3-23-26-0-4
San Francisco 49ers46 0.4003.00.00.0 1-43-24-0-6

Last Injuries

Minnesota Vikings

  • Jordan Brailford

    Personal
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Brailford has missed the past two games due to a personal matter, and it is unclear if he will be available for Sunday's game against the Panthers.

  • Adam Thielen

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Thielen has been ticketed to the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he will miss an extended period.

  • Ezra Cleveland

    Ankle
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Cleveland sat out the previous game with an ankle injury, and it is unknown if he will face the Panthers on Sunday.

  • Garrett Bradbury

    Shoulder
    Prob Sun | probable

    Bradbury has a shoulder injury, but he is expected to line up against the Cowboys on Sunday.

  • Cameron Dantzler

    Concussion
    Prob Sun | probable

    Dantzler has sat out the last two games with a concussion, but he is projected to suit up Sunday versus the Cowboys.

  • Irv Smith Jr.

    Groin
    Prob Sun | probable

    Smith Jr. missed his last game with a groin injury, but he is likely to dress for Sunday's tilt versus the Cowboys.

  • Eric Kendricks

    Upper Body
    Prob Sun | probable

    Kendricks left the previous game due to an upper-body injury, but he is likely to line up against the Cowboys on Sunday.

  • C.J. Ham

    Personal
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Ham has popped up on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he will miss an extended period.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Mykal Walker

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Walker left the last game due to a hamstring injury, and it is uncertain if he will line up on Sunday against the Raiders.

  • Julio Jones

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Jones exited the previous game due to left hamstring tightness, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup on Sunday versus the Raiders.

  • John Wetzel

    Ankle
    day-to-day | questionable

    Wetzel missed the last game with an ankle injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up against the Raiders in Week 12.

  • Matt Gono

    Illness
    Prob Sun | probable

    Gono is ailing from an illness, but he is projected to face the Saints on Sunday.

  • Kaleb McGary

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    McGary is expected to be active Sunday versus the Saints despite a knee injury.

  • Olamide Zaccheaus

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Zaccheaus is battling a knee injury, but he is likely to be available against the Saints on Sunday.

  • Calvin Ridley

    Foot
    Prob Sun | probable

    Ridley sat out the last game with a left mid-foot sprain, but it is anticipated that he will play against the Saints on Sunday.

  • Takkarist McKinley

    Groin
    Ques Week 12 | questionable

    McKinley is nursing a groin injury, and it is uncertain if he will take the field against the Rams in Week 12.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings

Matt Ryan threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns and the defense secured three interceptions as the visiting Atlanta Falcons recorded their first victory of the season Sunday with a 40-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Falcons (1-5) scored 23 unanswered points to open the game, their first under the direction of interim coach Raheem Morris, who replaced the fired Dan Quinn this week. Younghoe Koo kicked field goals of 50, 21 and 47 yards during the run.

Atlanta took a 20-0 lead into halftime, turning a trio of interceptions by Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins into 17 points. After intercepting Cousins on the first play from scrimmage, the Falcons capitalized just five plays later, as Ryan connected for a 20-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones.

Jones caught a pair of scoring passes and finished with eight receptions for 137 yards. Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst also caught touchdowns from Ryan, who was 30-for-40 with zero interceptions.

Minnesota (1-5) was outgained 462-365 and did much of its damage during a 16-point fourth quarter. In addition to Cousins' early struggles -- the veteran was 24-for-36 for 343 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions -- the Vikings were without running back Dalvin Cook, who exited in the second half of a Week 5 loss at Seattle with a groin injury.

Justin Jefferson led the Vikings with nine receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Adam Thielen had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Alexander Mattison, who ran for a career-best 112 yards last week, was Minnesota's leading rusher with 26 yards on 10 carries.

Trailing 10-0 with an opportunity to put points on the board following a Falcons fumble, the Vikings turned the ball over on downs with 11:41 to go in the second quarter, as the Atlanta defense stuffed Mike Boone on 4th-and-goal from the Falcons' 1-yard line.

Minnesota also was without right guard Dru Samia. Rookie Ezra Cleveland started in his place.

Cousins has a league-leading 10 interceptions this season after throwing just six interceptions in 2019.

Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun and A.J. Terrell had picks for the Falcons.

--Field Level Media