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Game Day


Minnesota Vikings (7-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-4)Falcons helmet Vikings helmet
Sunday, Nov. 29, 12 p.m. CST
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

The Minnesota Vikings were decisive winners in last year’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, with a 41-27 victory. But the prior two games, in 2011 and 2008, went to Atlanta. This year’s game is a toss-up and will be a strategic defensive battle.

After Sunday’s demoralizing defeat by the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings should be looking to rebound to stay in contention for the NFC North Division title. To do so, their 29th-ranked offense will have to show more fight than it has so far this year. And it must start with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is now 188 of 291 with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. As shown in the Packers game, penalties and turnovers can also be devastating.

The Falcons, on the other hand, have a balanced offense, ranked fourth in the league. Running back Devonta Freeman has 764 yards on the ground so far this season, and Julio Jones has 89 receptions for 1,189. Four other receivers also have more than 20 receptions. After a close loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Falcons should be hungry.

The Vikings will need to get an early lead to bring home a win. It won’t happen. Falcons will win in a low-scoring game.

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St. Louis Rams (4-6) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (8-2)Bengals helmet Rams helmet
Sunday, Nov. 29, 12 p.m. CST
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Games between these two teams have been close ones, with the Bengals winning two of the last three, but each game has been decided by fewer than 10 points. This year should be different.

The Rams are currently in third place in the NFC West Division with a sputtering offense and a quarterback change in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The shining star, of course, has been running back Todd Gurley, who is averaging five yards per carry in his 775 yards so far this season. But Gurley can only do so much.

The Bengals, after losing a tight game to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, are still in first place in the AFC North Division, but two consecutive losses show they are no longer invincible. Meanwhile, the stats are still impressive with quarterback Andy Dalton tossing 20 touchdowns for the year with only five interceptions, and five receivers having 24 or more receptions. Don’t be fooled. This Bengals team is still the real deal, and if they can keep penalties in check, it will show on Sunday in a blowout.

New England Patriots (10-0) vs. Denver Broncos (8-2)Broncos helmet Patriots helmet
Sunday, Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m. CST
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

If there is anything to be learned from the criticism of the New England Patriots in the last year, it is this: Don’t piss off Tom Brady.

The Patriots quarterback is leading the league in passing with the NFL’s No. 1 offense. He is 251 of 370 for 3,040 yards with 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. His QB rating? An amazing 111.1. The 38-year-old is playing some of the best ball in his life, and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down. As a result, the Patriots sit alone atop the AFC East Division.

The Denver Broncos also sit atop their division, thanks to a strong early start in the season. Losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts were devastating and resulted in the benching of 39-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning. Replacement Brock Osweiler led the team to victory on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but the competition will take a giant step up this Sunday. Will Manning return? Hard to say, but it won’t matter. Patriots will continue their winning ways. CV

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