The Falcons need to get back on track today and the Vikings … well the Vikings need to get back on track as well. So let’s get right on track with our Five Bold Predictions for the game …
MATT VENSEL, beat writer
The Vikings defense has just three takeaways since the bye week, but the Falcons have been in a giving mood in recent weeks, coughing up 12 turnovers in their past five weeks. The Vikings will get their hands on at least one of them Sunday and, what the heck, they’ll return one for a score.
MARK CRAIG, On The NFL columnist
The Vikings rank 28th in takeaways (11) and have only three of them since the bye week six games ago. So, naturally, they’ll get four takeaways on the road in a bounce-back win at Atlanta. I’d be tempted to pick the Falcons in a bigger bounce-back scenario, but I’ll go with a fourth straight loss for them because, A, Running back Devonta Freeman (concussion), who ranks No. 2 in yards from scrimmage and No. 1 in touchdowns, is out; B, Kicker Matt Bryant (quad) is out and has been replaced by Shayne Graham; C, The Falcons rank last in the league in sacks (12); and D, Atlanta is minus-6 in turnover ratio while going 1-4 the past five weeks .
JIM SOUHAN, columnist
Given that there were high expectations for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings defense, Stefon Diggs’ emergence might be the primary difference between the Vikings being 7-3 and 5-5. Today he returns to the forefront, using his quickness and footwork on the fast turf to produce another game-turning day, eclipsing 100 yards and making the biggest plays in a bounce-back Vikings victory.
CHIP SCOGGINS, columnist
Anthony Barr had two costly penalties in a loss to the Packers last week. The Vikings linebacker will redeem himself by creating two turnovers — a forced fumble and an interception — in a Vikings victory against the Falcons.
CHRIS MILLER, pro sports team leader
The Falcons won their first five games before losing four of five. During the past five, though, their defense has actually been better … it’s just that the offense and Matt Ryan keep giving the ball away. With Vikings safety Harrison Smith (knee) sidelined, Ryan won’t be bothered by pesky interceptions and will connect with Julio Jones as Antone Exum Jr. and Robert Blanton and Andrew Sendejo struggle in deep coverage. Jones scores two long TDs and the Falcons march to the win in Georgia.