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Falcons - Vikings predictions from The Falcoholic staff

Our staff is split on the result, but it promises to be a close, hard-fought game.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As is custom, we polled our staff to see who will win this Sunday’s game. As you’ll see, the optimism is largely there, but it’s muted heading into one of the roughest early season challenges on the 2019 schedule.

Falcons 24 - Vikings 20

I want to believe, so I will. For all the drama around the Falcons these past couple of weeks, they’ve added firepower and beef (beefy firepower? no, not that) to a team that needed both this offseason, with an offensive and defensive line that look like they’ll be better suited to not getting pushed all over the field. Matt Ryan said himself that Mike Zimmer’s Vikings are a physical football team, and if the Falcons can match that they’ll have a shot here.

Look for some long scores by both teams—I don’t quite trust this secondary to shut down Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen for an entire game, and Dalvin Cook can scoot—but a Falcons victory nonetheless. —Dave Choate

Falcons 17 - Vikings 23

I want to believe, but there are too many worrisome things going on with the team for me to think the Falcons come out strong. Remember the concerning loss to start off 2016? The Falcons have a lot of veterans who played limited preseason snaps, the coaching staff has been revamped, they have just settled the offensive line starters, and they are going on the road. I believe any team in the league can beat Kirk Cousins, but ultimately Minnesota’s stacked defense and elite offensive playmakers will be too much for a team that is nearly guaranteed to look rusty. I’m ready to take this loss, and maybe another close loss against the Philadelphia Eagles as they get rolling up to their potential. —Matt Chambers

Falcons 17 - Vikings 13

I believe the Falcons offensive line will eventually come together this season, but this game could be very rough as a first outing. Matt Ryan has shown he can still manufacture some offense even under duress, but this is one of the top defenses in the league for a reason. My faith - funny enough - comes from what I think the defense will do. I’m a big believer in Dan Quinn as a defensive coordinator and I think this unit will get after Cousins consistently. I also think they’ll get some turnovers, something they’ve struggled with in recent years. It’s going to be a close, physical game, but I think Ryan and company will do just enough to edge out the Vikings for an impressive road win. - David Walker

Falcons 21 – Vikings 20

I’m nervous about this game. The Falcons will have a true season-opening test against the often-underrated Minnesota Vikings. Their head coach Mike Zimmer is one of the best defensive minds in the league, and they have great talent along their defensive line such as Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. With that being said, it’s week one and I have to go with my heart here. I’m hoping Julio does Julio things and has a statement first game, and with the healthy players back on defense, we find a way to win. Perhaps the Falcons are losing and Matt Bryant drills a game-winning kick? - Evan Birchfield

Falcons 23 - Vikings 17

I also choose to believe in the Falcons in this game. U.S. Bank Stadium is a tough place to play at, and there’s no doubt in my mind that that stadium will be rocking on Sunday. The Vikings’ defensive line, with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffin leading the way, worries me; even more-so with the right tackle position looking shaky for the Birds. Xavier Rhodes is an excellent corner, but the Vikings will have no choice but to give him help against Julio Jones (if they don’t then that’s even better for Atlanta). On the other side, Calvin Ridley should be able to abuse Trae Waynes in a one on one matchup. The Vikings, meanwhile have their own struggles to deal with — they feature one of the worst offensive lines in football, and star wide receiver Stefon Diggs is dealing with a hamstring injury. In the end — with both teams featuring strong defenses, question marks along the offensive line, and explosive skill position players — I trust Matt Ryan more than I do Kirk Cousins. —Adnan Ikic