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The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-14 on Sunday to keep the pressure on the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Minnesota cut the Atlanta lead to just three at 17-14 when Christian Ponder found Percy Harvin on a 39 yard scoring pass. Atlanta responded with a 9 play, 73 yard drive that resulted in a Matt Ryan to Michael Palmer touchdown to make the score 24-14. Percy Harvin then took the ensuing kick off and raced 104 yards on the kick return before being caught from behind at the Atlanta three yard line. Atlanta cornerback Chris Owens made the tackle and never quit on the play to prevent Harvin from scoring.
The Falcons' defense responded with a goal line stand that successfully that led to a turnover on downs for the Vikings and the Atlanta offense successfully ran the clock out.
Matt Ryan turned in another solid performance completing 27 of 34 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Roddy White continued his recent surge hauling in 10 catches for 120 yards and one touchdown. Tony Gonzalez finished with nine receptions for 69 yards. Michael Turner led the way on the ground with 60 yards on 19 carries.
Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder finished 17 of 25 for 186 yards and one touchdown. Toby Gerhart had a tough time in Adrian Peterson's absence running 17 times for 44 yards. Percy Harvin had a big day with eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons have now won two games in a row and travel to Houston next week to take on the Texans.
The Atlanta Falcons are still holding a 17-7 lead in the third quarter over the Minnesota Vikings in the Georgia Dome. Th Falcons fan base held their collective breath's in the third quarter as Roddy White went down from what seemed to be an injury to his right shoulder.
White got up slow and went to the bench, but all reports seem to be that the wide receiver will be able to return to the game.
The Vikings were able to get on the board with a Toby Gerhart touchdown in the third quarter, his first of the season, to get Minnesota on the board. Christian Ponder has used his elusiveness to give the Falcons defense fits and has kept plays alive.
If the Falcons can hang on to their lead, Atlanta will move to 7-4.
Ryan found Harry Douglas in the first quarter on a pretty 27-yard pitch and catch to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, Ryan found Roddy White from 13 yards out to put Mike Smith's crew up two touchdowns. For the half, Ryan has 151 yards on 14-of-18 passing for the day.
The Falcons defense has done well in flustering rookie quarterback Christian Ponder thus far, and with no Adrian Peterson in the backfield the lack of playmakers on the field for Minnesota is plainly evident.
Christian Ponder is 10-12 passing for 82 yards, and Gerhart has just 23 yards rushing thus far.
The Atlanta Falcons were able to strike first in their contest versus the Minnesota Vikings as Matt Ryan found Harry Douglas for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The score gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead in the first quarter over a Vikings team who are without the services of their franchise running back Adrian Peterson.
Here is the video of the pitch and catch from Ryan to Douglas for those who missed it.
The touchdown pass by Ryan makes it 16 on the season, and the Falcons look to keep pace with the NFC South leading New Orleans Saints and push their record to 7-4 on the year. The Saints will face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
The Atlanta Falcons have seven players inactive for today's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden has been listed as out earlier in the week. That list of inactives swelled up to seven total players today against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Falcons do however have starting offensive tackle Sam Baker active for today. Baker has been out with a back injury however his status for today's game is questionable. Of the seven inactive players for the Falcons none are regular starters.
Here is the full Atlanta Falcons inactive list:
The Minnesota Vikings knew that star running back Adrian Peterson would be doubtful for today's game and it was officially announced on Friday that he would be out of action for today's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Starting in Peterson's place will be second-yard back Toby Gerhart. Gerhart has seen limited actin this year and has accumulated 118 yards on 24 carries to date.
MInnesota Vikings inactive list:
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has scored a touchdown in three straight games and has seven on the year, and could extend his touchdown streak against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have
CBS Sports fantasy department has nice stat about the Vikings when they face top-end tight end talent:
The Vikings rank 28th against the pass, allowing 259.4 yards per game, and they've given up an average of 5.6 catches for 67.8 yards to the big-name tight ends they've faced this season, which include Antonio Gates, Brandon Pettigrew, Greg Olsen and Jermichael Finley.
This assumes that Julio Jones does not take away too many targets form Gonzalez or if the Falcons go into a primarily running game attack if they can get out to a lead over the Vikings.
According to numberFire, they predict Gonzalez to score the fourth most fantasy football points for a tight end in Week 12.
Wide receiver Roddy White will be going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings are 28th against the pass allowing 259.4 yards per game, and given the recent success of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan who has been on a roll with averaging 314 yards per game over the past three games. So there are signs pointing to White possibly having another big game.
Last week White broke out with a season high 147 receiving yards which was his second game of season where he gained over 100 yards. Even with Julio Jones back, White should still see a lot of targets thrown his way. The only way that White has a poor game is due that Atlanta takes to the ground game after going up with an early lead.
According to numberFire, they projected as the seventh wide receiver for fantasy football this week.
Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner is projected to have a big game against the Minnesota Vikings. Turner is coming off a 100-yard rushing performance last week against the Tennessee Titans and will be looking for his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the year. However, getting those 100 yards could prove difficult as the Vikings rush defense ranks ninth against the run and only allows 100.6 yards per game. However, Turner is running well right now and is averaging 105.6 yards over his last five games with four touchdowns.
With the Vikings without running back Adrian Peterson on Sunday that could actually help Turner's fantasy numbers, because if Atlanta can get out to a large lead they may slow the game down by handing the ball of to Turner to run out the clock.
According to numberFire, they see Turner as putting up the third most points for a running back this week, but being kept held 100 yards.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is coming off back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time in his career and he could make it a third when he takes on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings rank 28th against the pass, allowing 259.4 yards per game, so look for Ryan to have another good game. The Falcons do get an other weapon back in wide receiver Julio Jones and that should provide Ryan with another weapon to go up against the weak Vikings secondary.
The only drawback could be that with the Vikings Adrian Peterson out, the Falcons could get to a big lead and then hand the ball of to Michael Turner and diminish Ryan's fantasy value.
According to numberFire they are projecting Ryan as the seventh rated quarterback for this week.
With three games already out of the way, the NFL's week 12 slate appears a little sparse. The opportunity for financial gain is as strong as ever, though, especially with names like Matt Leinart, Toby Gerhart and Vince Young heavily in the mix. The lines are here!
The Atlanta Falcons take on the Minnesota Vikings at home this week and welcome back wide receiver Julio Jones, while the Vikings will be without running back Adrian Peterson.
Peterson had suffered a high ankle sprain in a loss at home to Oakland last Sunday, and initially told reporters after the game that he would be playing against the Falcons this week. However, multiple reports have downgraded Peterson's status. Despite Minnesota's 2-8 record this season, Peterson has rushed for 872 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Falcons are currently ranked second in the NFL in rushing yardage allowed per game, at 85.4 yards.
The Minnesota Vikings are more than likely going to be without star running back Adrian Peterson who suffered an ankle injury in the first half against the Oakland Raiders last week. If Peterson is not able to play that will severely limit the Vikings offense as they will be turning to second year pro Toby Gerhart who has only 118 yards and 24 carries this year.
Earlier on Friday it was reported that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones would play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, and Jones backed that up by fully participating in Friday's practice. This was his first full practice this week and the hope is that Jones is fully recovered from the hamstring that has bothered Jones for the past two months and caused him to miss last weeks game against the Tennessee Titans.
Atlanta's quest for seven wins might have gotten significantly easier today, with the Minnesota Vikings announcing that star RB Adrian Peterson is unlikely to play on Sunday:
Falcons" class="user-profile-link js-action-profile-avatar" data-user-id="16347506" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; cursor: pointer; color: #aaaaaa !important; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;" />Atlanta_Falcons Atlanta_FalconsMinnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is doubtful for Sunday's game at the Georgia Dome.
If he's unable to play, Minnesota will turn to second-year RB Toby Gerhart. The 6'0 231 Stanford product has rushed for 118 yards on 24 carries this season.
Peterson's absence would put even more pressure on rookie QB Christian Ponder, whose performed decently through his first four starts, completing 52.1% of his passes with 5 TD's and 6 INT's.
But if Atlanta can make the Vikings offense one-dimensional, Ponder could be in for a long night without his All-Pro RB in the backfield.
After missing last week's game against Tennessee with a hamstring injury he has been battling for almost two months, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones is expected to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings:
ClaytonESPN John ClaytonWR Julio Jones, Andre Johnson and Stevie Johnson are probable and will play Sunday.
Jones had the biggest game of his early NFL career after returning from the same hamstring injury against Indianapolis on Nov. 6, catching 3 balls for 131 yards and 2 TD's.
If he's recovered after re-aggravating the injury, he could be in line for another big game against Minnesota, which has given up 259.4 yards passing a game, 28th worst in the NFL.
Without Jones, QB Matt Ryan focused on his two veteran receiving targets, WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez, en route to a 316 yard passing day.
Now, with Ryan and RB Michael Turner returning to form and everyone healthy, the Falcons offense could be as threatening as everyone assumed they would be before the season, when they were a trendy Super Bowl pick.
Atlanta enters the weekend as a 9.5 point favorite over the Minnesota Vikings in their Week 12 match up at the Georgia Dome.
Peterson did not participate in practice on either Wednesday or Thursday, and is recovering from an ankle injury sustained against the Raiders in Week 11. But both Visanthe Shiancoe and and Kyle Rudolph have missed practice this week, and Christian Ponder and Percy Harvin have both been limited.
That's not a good sign for a team that can struggle on offense even at peak health.
Here's the full Vikings practice and injury report for Week 12.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Cornerback Chris Cook (not injury-related), safety Husain Abdullah (concussion), running back Adrian Peterson (ankle), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), tight end Kyle Rudolph (quadriceps).
The Atlanta Falcons are favored to top the Minnesota Vikings at the Georgia Dome this weekend. Part of why the Falcons are favored: they're healthy. Only one player on Atlanta's active roster missed practice on Thursday.
That player, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, has a toe injury, and did not participate in practice on Wednesday or Thursday. The Falcons may be without his services this weekend as a result, but should have Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and Brent Grimes, all of whom did not participate on Wednesday but did on Thursday.
Here's the full Falcons practice and injury report for Week 12.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Cornerback Kelvin Hayden (groin).
FULL PARTICIPATION: Defensive end John Abraham (not injury-related), guard Justin Blalock (ankle), tight end Tony Gonzalez (not injury-related), defensive tackle Corey Peters (knee), linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle).
The Falcons will look to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South division when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Saints enter Week 12 with a one game lead in the division and host the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
The Minnesota Vikings will prepare to make due with their usually effective running game as the prospect of star tailback Adrian Peterson playing on Sunday versus the Atlanta Falcons seems in doubt. The Vikings running back was held out of practice on Wednesday, as the high ankle sprain suffered against the Oakland Raiders is similar to the one Felix Jones had that put him on the shelf for 3 weeks.
Here is the Vikings injury report for October 23rd:
LP: Limited participation in practice
FP: Full participation
DNP: Did not practice
Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution on the potential of Jones seeing the field:
"We anticipate him being out on the practice field tomorrow, " Smith said. "It will be encouraging to see him out practicing and not out working out with our athletic-performance department. He's done a nice job in his rehabilitation. So, tomorrow we'll give him an opportunity. If it goes well, we'll progress to Friday and give him back-to-back days of work."
Here is the Falcons injury report for November 23rd:
LP: Limited participation in practice
FP: Full participation
DNP: Did not practice
The Atlanta Falcons will likely get the opportunity to face the Minnesota Vikings without Adrian Peterson this weekend, and that's a situation worth giving thanks to.
The Falcons seem to have finally gotten their ya-yas out in 2011 and are finally returning to some solid football. Despite rookie Jake Locker having some success against the Falcons' defense last week I'm not sure the less talented Vikings will be able to do much with Christian Ponder at QB and now the revelation that All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson will be sitting seems to part the seas and give the Falcons smooth sailing.
Las Vegas agrees with this sentiment as they give the Vikings 10 points on Sunday. I think this could be quite generous actually as I think Minnesota will need 15 to keep this close this week. Without Peterson to help set up play action you're really throwing Ponder to the wolves here, which is an unenviable prospect with John Abraham lining up and staring him down.
If Julio Jones is still unable to play it wont be too bad for Atlanta as Roddy White seems to be finding his footing this season. Minnesota don't have a reliable cover for White or TE Tony Gonzalez, so they'll rely on Jared Allen very heavily to get to Matt Ryan and cause disruption in the backfield. While this is a distinct possibility, and easily the Falcons' #1 concern on offense I don't really think it will have a huge effect on Sunday.
The 44.5 point over/under clearly speaks to the lack of confidence in the Vikings offense this week. I think it's safe to bank on Atlanta getting 25-30 points this week, but I think there could be some room for Minnesota to score with Percy Harvin using some gadget plays and versatility. When it's all said and done I definitely think the Atlanta Falcons will win this game, so I'm taking Atlanta minus the points and the over on 44.5 points.
ESPN's Stephanie Bell is reporting that Minnesota Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson isn't likely to return to actionthis week against the Atlanta Falcons after suffering a high-ankle sprain in last week's game. According to Bell, several players this season have been diagnosed with similar injuries and have needed more than one week to recover.
Earlier this year there was optimism that St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford would play the week following a high ankle sprain; he missed two games. Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones returned last week after missing four weeks with his high ankle sprain. While no two injuries are identical, the concern over proper healing of a high ankle sprain to prevent future problems and the demands of the running back position suggest Peterson will miss this week and perhaps longer.
Even if Peterson is somehow able to play, he would likely be limited and less than 100 percent which could force the Vikings to spread carries between several other players.
The Atlanta Falcons win by a score of 23-17 this week over the Tennessee Titans.
Starting left tackle Sam Baker was inactive Sunday for the Falcons. While Atlanta was able to eek out a 23-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the ability to protect franchise quarterback Matt Ryan and plow holes for Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner hasn't been as easy in recent weeks.
Mike Smith spoke about Baker at length in his weekly press conference, including an update on Sam's progress:
"Sam was worked with this morning. The guys that didn't play in the game have already all worked with our athletic performance staff this morning, have gotten a workout. Sam practiced on a limited basis and we'll continue to see how he progresses. We think, because he's been able to increase his workload each and every day that he will continue to increase that workload and get back to full speed." -- Mike Smith
On the left tackle position and whether there has been a decision on the starter with Baker healthy:
"Again, we're not going to make that determination until we get Sam back out there on the field." -- Mike Smith
For more insights about the Falcons, check out the SB Nation blog The Falcoholic.
The Vikings' Pro Bowl running back is one of the few consistencies for Minnesota this season. Will the Falcons see him on Sunday?
This game marks the third straight at home for the Falcons, and like the Titans this matchup with the Vikes definitely looks very winnable on paper. With another vet-rookie QB combo, this one featuring Donovan McNabb and current backup Christian Ponder, Minnesota is another team in transition. However, while the Vikings will likely have their share of hiccups this season, the Falcons will still have to worry about the likes of Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin in this week 12 matchup.
Record: Finished 6-10, missed playoffs in 2010
Last Meeting: December 21, 2008 (Falcons won 24-17, clinching a playoff spot in the process)
Notable Additions: QB Donovan McNabb (trade), WR Michael Jenkins, DT Remi Ayodele, DE Stylez G White, OT Charlie Johnson
Notable Losses: WR Sidney Rice, DE Ray Edwards, DT Pat Williams, QB Tarvaris Jackson, LB Ben Leber
I've come to find that without Brett Favre, I actually don't mind this team at all. In fact, it was the Vikings that made the Ray Edwards signing possible at all, which I of course love. Now, when a 6-10 team was getting more coverage than the 13-3 Falcons because of No. 4, that's when I get ticked off. But that's another can of worms, and I digress.
The Vikings big move this offseason was sending Sidney Rice and Tarvaris Jackson on their merry way to Seattle. However, the team also acquired McNabb at the ultimate buy-low price, a couple of late-round draft picks, and he certainly presents an upgrade over Tarvaris regardless of age. They also signed our own Michael Jenkins in an effort to boost the WR corps.
However, amidst all the offensive QB controversy this is still a team that quietly had the No. 8 defense in 2010. Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Chad Greenway, and EJ Henderson all return to the Vikes this season. Even with the losses of Pat Williams and Ray Edwards, that front seven is still pretty intimidating.
That's why the Falcons will have to open up the passing game. Fortunately for Atlanta, the Minnesota secondary is not exactly what I would call intimidating. Antoine Winfield is still a great cornerback despite his age, but beyond that I think we'll see Matt Ryan testing the other CB's on the roster.
The other key to this game will be (shocking, I know) Adrian Peterson. Lofton & Co. cannot let AP run all over them, especially if we're seeing Christian Ponder starting at that point in the season. Shut Peterson down, and the Vikes will sink with him. This will absolutely be another game the Falcons have to "take care of business" and win if they want to repeat last season's success.