|ATLANTA FALCONS (2-1)
|MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-2)
|28 September 2014
|3:25 PM Central
|TCF Bank Stadium
DirecTV Ch 713
| Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 228
Sirius Ch 138
| Chris Myers
|Know Thy Foe:
|80 degrees, winds from SW at 7 MPH, 0% chance of rain
|Falcons -3, Over/Under 47 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
|Vikings 20, Falcons 17
|Vikings 41, Falcons 28
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It's been a pretty good week, getting an opportunity to deal with some outstanding opposing fans (as opposed to, you know, last week). Now, in less than an hour, the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons will get together at TCF Bank Stadium in Week 4 of the 2014 NFL season.
So, what do the Vikings have to do in order to snap their two-game losing streak?
1) Keep the Falcons off-balance - We know that rookie Teddy Bridgewater is going to be making his first NFL start this afternoon. With the running game sputtering significantly, the Vikings are going to have to do what they can to keep the Falcons from keying on Bridgewater. They need to do more of what they did in Week 1 against St. Louis and on the first drive of the game against New England. The offense needs a heavy dose of Cordarrelle Patterson to keep the Falcons guessing, and it wouldn't hurt if Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon could significantly improve on their performance from the past couple of weeks.
2) Keep Teddy upright - The Falcons haven't been able to muster a whole lot of pass rush this season so far, but you know they're going to be throwing the kitchen sink at the Vikings' new quarterback. Matt Kalil needs to correct his case of cranial-rectal inversion, and guys like Vladimir Ducasse (stepping in for the injured Brandon Fusco at right guard) are going to have to step up their game significantly in order to give Bridgewater time to make his reads. Bridgewater is significantly more mobile than Matt Cassel, but the team certainly doesn't want him running for his life all day.
3) Continue playing sound defense - The Falcons have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL through the first three weeks of the season, having put up 103 points in their first three games. Of those 103 points, 93 have come in the Georgia Dome, while the Falcons put up just ten points in their one road contest this season. The Vikings have been surprisingly good on defense so far this season. . .at least, compared to last year. The team is 11th in the league in yards allowed (12th against the pass, 15th against the run) and 9th in points allowed. Matt Ryan has been playing outstanding football, but the team's receivers have had some injury issues. The Vikings need to get pressure on Ryan, make sound tackles, and try to limit any damage guys like Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Devin Hester. . .yes, that Devin Hester. . .can do after the catch. They're capable of it.
I'm incredibly excited to see what Teddy Bridgewater can do, folks. The last time I was this excited about a young quarterback in Minnesota was 2000 when Daunte Culpepper was officially given the reigns. I'm doing my best to try to temper expectations a bit, but really. . .who wants to do that?
Let's hope that #5 can put it together and get the Vikings on the winning track in his first NFL start.