The Falcons’ defense, which let Tampa Bay ease back into the game and get to within one-score Sunday, will be on the hot seat against backup quarterback Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Vikings, with running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, rush for 124.5 yards per game, which ranks sixth in the NFL.
The Falcons’ defense is giving up 113.9 yards per game, which ranks 20th in the league. Advantage: Minnesota.
The Vikings know they can’t beat teams with Keenum dropping back 35 times per game, and they lean heavily on the rushing attack to help set up their play-action passes. Keenum is a good scrambler and can extend plays.
“That’s one of the things that we really need to emphasize, not just this week, to play the style that we want,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We can’t have these runs that go for 8 yards or 10 yards and extend drives.”
Murray leads the Vikings in rushing with 496 yards on 130 carries and five touchdowns. McKinnon, who played at Sprayberry High and Georgia Southern, has rushed for 390 yards on 106 carries and three touchdowns.
“You want to make sure that when you get your chances to make a hit you are; I took my gap,” Quinn said. “We play a lot of eight-man front, and ... our tackling has improved the last few weeks. Our gap control is something we need to keep working on.”
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