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Falcons Turn to Morris as They Look to Avoid 0-6 Start Against Vikings

Raheem Morris, then assistant head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, coaches in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 6, 2019, in Houston, Texas.

The Atlanta Falcons will have a new head coach Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Vikings as road underdogs in Week 6. The Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after losing to the Carolina Panthers 23-16 as 2.5-point home favorites, replacing the former with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Meanwhile, the Vikings blew a 13-0 halftime lead in a 27-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Week 5 Sunday Night Football matchup but covered as 6.5-point road underdogs.

Atlanta Falcons vs Minnesota Vikings
  • Date/Time: October 18, 1 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
  • TV Coverage: Fox
  • Opening Odds: Vikings -6.5 | O/U 54.5 (Line History)
  • Falcons vs Vikings Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

There was obviously an overreaction with the opening number of Minnesota -6.5, as the line has already dipped to -3.5 following the news that Quinn was fired. Bettors saw how well the previously winless Houston Texans played in Week 5 after head coach Bill O’Brien was fired, winning 30-14 and covering the spread as 6.5-point home favorites. The big difference here, though, is that Atlanta will be going for its first victory on the road, which is definitely a tougher task than trying to accomplish that same feat at home.

Atlanta News & Notes

Falcons fans and backers are breathing a sigh of relief but also probably thinking the coaching move is too little, too late after getting burned again last Sunday. Atlanta fell to 1-4 against the spread following the loss to Carolina, and the team’s only cover came in Week 2 after blowing a 39-24 lead in a 40-39 setback to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Falcons can only play better from here on out for their new coach Morris, who deserves a second chance at a head gig. Morris went 17-31 as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2009 and 2011, including a respectable 10-6 mark in 2010. This Atlanta team still has as much offensive talent as almost any club in the NFL, and the defense will likely play even harder now too with Morris taking over as the head coach.

Minnesota News & Notes

Another prime-time appearance for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, and another disappointing loss on national television. Following last week’s collapse at Seattle, Cousins is 4-12 straight up on Sunday and Monday nights. The good news is that Minnesota will not be playing at night in this spot, and the team is 14-5 ATS in its last 19 games kicking off in the early afternoon, according to the Odds Shark NFL Database.

The Vikings had their moments against the Seahawks and played extremely well early on in building a 13-0 halftime lead. But head coach Mike Zimmer did make some questionable decisions, including going for it on fourth-and-one at the Seattle six-yard line when Minnesota could have kicked a field goal for a 29-21 lead at the two-minute warning.

A groin injury suffered by running back Dalvin Cook should not hurt too much either with second-year player Alexander Mattison coming off a career-high 112 yards on 20 carries.

Betting Pick: OVER 56

It has become difficult to make a case for the UNDER in NFL games this year because historical trends do not seem to mean as much as recent ones. For that reason, we can throw out the UNDER going 7-1 in the past eight meetings and look instead at the OVER going 5-0 in Atlanta’s last five games and 6-1 in the team’s past seven against NFC opponents. Both the Falcons and Vikings can score, and they will do that a lot in this spot.

Shark Bites
  • The Falcons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
  • The Vikings are 20-8 SU in their last 28 home games.
  • The UNDER is 7-1 in the past 8 meetings.