The Vikings have aced every test so far in the difficult second half of their schedule. Sunday could be where they see a seven-game win streak end, against a team with a full complement of weapons on offense and plenty of speed on defense.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Vikings 21.
Three big story lines
Falcons on the rebound
The 2016 NFC champions started 3-0 and after three straight losses dropped them to .500, they’ve won four of their last five, They’ll get running back Devonta Freeman back from a concussion on Sunday.
Diggs could benefit with Trufant out
Falcons CB Desmond Trufant will miss Sunday’s game because of a concussion, which could mean C.J. Goodwin spends much of the day covering Stefon Diggs.
Mercedes-Benz next super home
Mercedes-Benz Stadium — the Falcons’ $1.6 billion new home — has replaced U.S. Bank Stadium as the NFL’s newest facility, and will follow it as the host of the Super Bowl. The retractable-roof facility is slated to be the home of Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019.
Two key matchups
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones
Rhodes will likely shadow Jones in the third matchup between the former first-round picks. In their last meeting, Jones caught just five passes for 56 yards.
Vikings offensive line vs. Falcons DT Grady Jarrett
The Vikings have the league’s sixth-best rushing attack, and it’s their best chance to win on Sunday. That means running the ball effectively against a defense that has given up at least 138 rushing yards in three of the Falcons’ four losses. The Vikings’ interior linemen will have to play well against Jarrett, who’s been a stout run defender at either tackle spot.
One stat that matters
48.1 The Falcons’ league-leading third-down conversion percentage. The Vikings’ defense has allowed third-down conversions just 28.5 percent of the time, which is also the best in the NFL.
The Vikings will win if …
• They can take advantage of the Falcons’ sporadic run defense and keep pressure on Matt Ryan.
The Falcons will win if …
• Devonta Freeman can attack the Vikings on multiple fronts, making up for what Xavier Rhodes might do to slow down Julio Jones.
Goessling’s win probability