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Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons Point Spread - Pick

Minnesota Vikings (9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: MIN +3/ATL -3
Over/Under Total: 47

The Minnesota Vikings come down south to take on the Atlanta Falcons in a big NFC matchup on Sunday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in week 13. Minnesota is really on a nice roll, coming off the long week after beating the Lions on the road, 30-23, on Thanksgiving. It was their seventh straight win and the Vikes seem to have really come upon a very dependable formula for success. But they have their work cut out on the road this week against the defending conference champion Falcons. On Sunday, Atlanta won their third in a row and are starting to show their teeth. A 30-14 win over Tampa was their first of three straight home games where the Falcons look to jump back into the division race, now one game behind the Saints and Panthers.

The Vikings are really seeing things go their way. Most teams who lose two different starting quarterbacks in as many years, along with a starting running back who is a big part of the offense don't find answers as easily as the Vikes have. Their depth and the thoughtfulness in how they built their roster are really paying off now. They have balance on both sides of the ball and are able to apply what they do well every week. Their win over Detroit was their first of three straight road games and we'll see how they hold up during this period.

Vikings' quarterback Case Keenum has been awesome this season, far beyond what anyone was forecasting. On Thanksgiving, he was 21-for-30 on 282 yards passing with two touchdowns. And after a little run where he was interception-prone, the win over Detroit was his second straight pick-free game. Against a Detroit defense that had been playing better, he connected well with Minnesota's top receivers, namely Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. They have a tight end in Kyle Rudolph who can really make a big impact, as he caught two TD passes against the Lions. Latavius Murray seems to be rolling now on the ground and he had a TD with 84 yards rushing. This offense might not be electric, but they are dependable and helping bring that about is an offensive line that has performed very well this season thus far.

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The Vikings' defense is one of the best in the league, along with being very balanced. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are very active. Up front, Everson Griffen has been big with his 12 sacks. Danielle Hunter chimes in with a nice pass-rush, while big Linval Joseph is big presence in the middle. In the secondary, Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith all have multiple interceptions and have been improving in the area of defending receivers over the course of the season. In their last nine games, only two teams have surpassed 17 points in scoring against the Vikings.

The Falcons have been a streaky bunch this season, winning three straight to start the season, before dropping three straight. After alternating wins and losses, they have now won 3 straight. After a nice 3-point road win over Seattle on MNF, they came off the short week and quickly took control against the incoming Bucs, relying on big aerial plays, along with a strong run-game and a tight defense—particularly against the run. They've been getting better play on both sides of the ball and have been able to stabilize their condition after four losses in five games threatened to derail the season for the defending conference champions.

On Sunday, Atlanta QB Matt Ryan was big with 317 yards through the air. WR Mohamed Sanu also threw a 51-yard TD on a tricky play. Most of the aerial production went to Julio Jones, whose 253 yards took him over the 1000-yard mark, as he also caught two TDs. They await the return of RB Devonta Freeman, though Tevin Coleman was big on Sunday with 97 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Terron Ward added a useful 35 rushing yards. In addition to his TD throw, Sanu also caught eight balls. It might not be the thrill-a-minute offense of last season, but they are getting it together.

Atlanta's defense was on-point on Sunday. They held the Bucs to no aerial touchdowns, while keeping them fairly-subdued on the ground, as well. Tampa didn't turn the ball over, nor did they have many penalties, but were only able to get anything cooking after Atlanta had already taken control of the game. Their pass-rush was also quiet on the day, despite some big recent performances in that area. With the offense cooking, they don't need to be spectacular on this side of the ball and they weren't last season even when nearly winning it all. They just need to be adequate, make some big plays, and step up in timely fashion.

Atlanta has scored some nice wins, but this should really offer a peek into where they stand against the conference's elite this season. Minnesota is ultra-hot, on the heels of 7 straight wins. With victories against the Saints, Rams, and Lions, the Vikes have shown they can make it work at a high level. But against a home Atlanta team that has heated up, this might be their toughest test of the season, as well. It's a high-stakes battle where a case can be saliently made for either side, but I like the more-complete Vikings to keep their feet on the gas this week and they are hard to turn down this week getting points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Minnesota Vikings plus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Vikings vs. Falcons game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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