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Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons: First Quarter Open Thread

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-3) WEEK 12 ATLANTA FALCONS (6-4)

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Date: 29 November 2015
Location: Atlanta, GA
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: Georgia Dome
TV: FOX
DirecTV Ch 705
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 82 (ATL)
Sirius Ch 108
TV Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt
John Lynch
Know Thy Foe: The Falcoholic
Weather: Indoors
Line: Atlanta -2.5, Over/Under 45 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 24, Falcons 21
Final Score:


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After waiting for what seems like forever. . .it always seems longer after a loss, I think. . .it's nearly time for the Minnesota Vikings to take the field for Week 12 of NFL action. This week, like last week, they're going against a struggling opponent in the Atlanta Falcons. Hopefully the Vikings won't help their opponent out of their struggles like they did last week.

What do the Vikings need to do to prevent that from happening?

1) Get after Matt Ryan - The Falcons have one of the most dynamic offense weapons in football in wide receiver Julio Jones. He has been having a phenomenal season despite his quarterback struggling these past few games. One way to attempt to negate that is going to be to get pressure on Ryan and force him into some bad throws. Over the Falcons' last five games, Ryan has thrown six interceptions, including three last week in the Falcons' 24-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Vikings' pass rush has been doing plenty of good things this year, and with the absence of Harrison Smith, it will be incumbent on them to continue doing so if they want to slow down the Atlanta offense.

2) Shorten up the passing game - The Vikings' offensive line has been a mess all season, and that came to the fore last Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater may be holding on to the ball a bit longer than Norv Turner might like, but between the offensive line and his receivers pulling the occasional disappearing act (I'm looking at you, Mike Wallace), I'm not sure he's had many other options. The Vikings have plenty of receivers that can make plays if they get the ball in space, whether it's Wallace, Stefon Diggs, or Jarius Wright. In order to take the heat off of Adrian Peterson (particularly with the Falcons' possessing the #1 defense in the NFL against the run), hopefully we'll see the Vikings utilizing more short, quick passes this afternoon to give their other playmakers an opportunity to make plays.

3) Get back to what was working - This weekend, the Vikings aren't playing under the bright lights of a big, nationally-televised contest. That seems to have been part of the formula for success for this team. The Vikings are a very young team, and when the spotlight is on them, they seem to let their emotions get away with them and make a bunch of dumb errors they generally don't make. Now that they're back to a noon Central kickoff, hopefully they can get back to playing the way they had been during their five-game winning streak.

A win today for the Vikings would put them a game up in the NFC North. . .again. . .give them a virtual stranglehold on a playoff spot (at 8-3, they'd be two full games up on any potential Wild Card contenders), and give them a fourth consecutive road victory for the first time since 1998. The Falcons have had their issues over the past five games after getting off to a 5-0 start. Here's hoping that the Vikings can keep them down on the mat.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff, ladies and gentlemen. . .enjoy this afternoon's game.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!