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NFL Week 12 Preview: Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons

Written by Gaby Varji   
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 07:20

2011 Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 12 PreviewNFL Betting Lines Overview
When the Minnesota Vikings took the field in week one of the 2011-2012 season, people did not know what to expect. The Vikings lost veteran quarterback Brett Favre to retirement and were still fixing up their broken balloon dome during the off-season. To offset the loss of Favre, the Vikings brought in embattled veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb. But to avoid hedging its bets, the Vikings also drafted highly-touted college quarterback Christian Ponder in the 2011 NFL draft. Ponder immediately showed no respect for McNabb by announcing that he intended to compete for the starting job. By week five, Ponder had won the starting job and learned a whole new respect for Donovan McNabb.

The price per head sportsbook experts expected a lot from the Atlanta Falcons in the 2011-2012 season. Atlanta was supposed to be the heir apparent to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings, and Atlanta was supposed to be a top-rated NFC playoff team.

After the first few weeks of the season, the bookie software started dropping Atlanta out of playoff contention as the Falcons could not seem to buy a win. But, as time went by, the Falcons started winning games and have put itself into second place in the NFC South; trailing the Saints by one game. Obviously, the Saints are not interested in anointing an heir apparent and the Falcons are not ready to be anointed.

Minnesota Vikings
While it is not a surprise that rookie quarterback Christian Ponder is playing like a rookie, it is not what the Vikings needed at this point. In five games played, Ponder has 955 passing yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions. The Minnesota defense is playing very well against the run, but is having problems containing the opposing passing games. A 5 dimes review of the Minnesota Vikings shows a team in transition that is struggling to find an identity. No one is really sure if Ponder is the long-term solution at quarterback, but the Vikings are going to give him every chance to prove himself this year and probably next year as well.

Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons started off this season in a tailspin. It looked like the Falcons would be lucky to finish the season at 8-8. But the Falcons were able to ignore the challenges of the NFL schedule and get its record up to 6-4. But the Falcons have to keep winning because its 1-2 divisional record is not going to be enough to win a tiebreaker against the Saints if it should come to that. Quarterback Matt Ryan is on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards and over 30 touchdown passes this season. But with a defense that is ranked 26th against the pass, the Falcons are its own worst enemy in a division dominated by quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Cam Newton.

The Bottom Line
The Vikings still have a long way to go before becoming a playoff contender. The Minnesota defense is inconsistent and the offense is still developing. The Falcons are hitting on all cylinders and need wins like this one over Minnesota to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints in the NFL standings.

BSN Sports Free Pick: Atlanta Falcons

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