Against the Spread Pick
The Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons are both coming off disappointing seasons, so this opening game is huge for both sides. Kirk Cousins failed to live up to expectations in his first year in Minnesota, but I think he’s in for a bounce back year. The Vikings made upgrading the offensive line a priority this offseason, so Cousins won’t be running for his life like he often was last year. If he has that time to throw, he should be able to pick apart this Falcons secondary. The Vikings have what is quite possible the best receiving duo in the league in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and they also have Kyle Rudolph at tight end and Dalvin Cook out of the backfield. The team has playmakers on defense as well, and I think they could surprise a lot of people. Matt Ryan just isn’t the same away from home, so I think Minnesota is going to win this one by a comfortable margin.
Over Under Pick
I also like the over in this spot. Cousins has a huge chip on his shoulder from all the flak he caught this offseason, and I expect him to come out on fire. Atlanta’s defense was one of the worst in the league last year, and they didn’t have any semblance of a pass-rush. If Cousins is sitting pretty in the pocket, he’s going to have a field day here. Atlanta has an explosive passing game as well, with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley at Ryan’s disposal. I think we see a pretty fast-paced game here that could turn into a shootout.