Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and a healthy Roddy White along with the Atlanta Falcons are 3 point road favorites when they head to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this weekend for a showdown with Teddy Bridgewater, Cordarrelle Patterson, and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Falcons enter this game with a 2-1 record and coming off a blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikings are 1-2 on the season after losing to the Saints on the road in week 3.
Now, let’s find out which team is going to strike pay dirt against the NFL odds in this Week 4 showdown.
Atlanta at Minnesota
Date: Sunday, Sept. 28
Start Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Radio: NFL Audio Pass
Spread: Atlanta -3
NFL Week 4 Free Picks Preview – Falcons Vs Vikings
Minnesota lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel for the rest of the season after he broke bones in his left foot in the Vikings’ 20-9 Week 3 loss to Minnesota as a 10-point home underdog.
Now, they’ll turn to the talented Bridgewater – and I believe that’s a good thing for the Vikings.
Minnesota is ranked 29th in total offense and 28th in scoring (16.7 ppg) and I believe they can’t do much worse with Bridgewater under center. Defensively, the Vikes have been very good in ranking ninth in points allowed (18.7 ppg).
Bridgewater, the 32nd pick in the draft, performed very well in the preseason and his teammates are enamored with his eye-popping talent, that once made him one of the top choices to go No. 1 overall.
"A lot of poise for a rookie. I mean, an incredible amount, and he can throw the ball around the field," center John Sullivan said. "So we’re excited."
Sullivan went even further in response to a question about the team’s confidence in Bridgewater.
"We should win every single game we play with him at quarterback," he said.
For his part, Bridgewater downplayed the significance of him becoming the team’s starting quarterback.
"It’s not all about me. I don’t have to do it my myself," said Bridgewater, who will be backed up by former starter Christian Ponder. "There are 10 other guys out on the field with me, so we’re expecting those guys to play well for us and just excited to get back out there Sunday."
Despite their confidence in their rookie signal-caller, the Vikings will be hard-pressed to take down an Atlanta Falcons team that has one of the most explosive offenses in the league under venerable quarterback Matt Ryan.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 25, 2014
Atlanta’s Pro Bowl signal-caller has the Falcons ranked first on total offense (455.0 ypg), first in passing (333.7 ypg) and first in scoring (34.3 ppg).
Ryan completed 21 of 24 and threw three touchdowns to lead the Falcons to an overwhelming 56-14 win over Tampa Bay in their Week 3 NFC South divisional matchup while easily cashing in as a 6.5-point home favorite the last time out.
The Falcons say they aren’t focusing on their last contest and are preparing for a big challenge against Bridgewater.
"They’re going to base their offense off of what he can do well, which is obviously run and move around," linebacker Paul Worrilow said. "That’s going to be something we’re going to have to prepare for."
— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) September 25, 2014
Falcons coach Mike Smith said his team’s game plan for the Vikings changed with Cassel’s injury and Bridgewater’s insertion into the starting lineup.
"We’ve got a challenge in my mind with an athletic quarterback to be able to keep him in the pocket," Smith said after Monday’s practice.
Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones leads the NFL with 365 receiving yards and is tied for third with 23 catches.
Game Analysis: I had the Atlanta Falcons as one of my lock picks of Week 3 and I’m coming right back with them as another ‘lock’ selection in this Week 4 matchup against Minnesota.
Matt Ryan and company look like they’re back to their high-scoring offensive ways and I personally don’t think the Vikings are going too be able to keep pace with Atlanta’s offense in this one.
You heard it here first…the Falcons will win and cover the spread with plenty of room to spare.
My Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3 Points