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.