Atlanta plays the first Saturday Night Game of the season when the travel to Ford Field to take on the Lions. The Falcons can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win this game or their next one, so they are in a pretty good place. They obviously would like to win this one to take away any pressure. Whether or not they would rest some starters would become a topic of debate, but I’ll leave that until it is a done deal. Detroit has been a major disappointment this season after making the playoffs last year. They currently stand at 4-10 on the year and last place in the NFC North. Currently riding a 6 game losing streak, they are coming off a 38-10 slaughtering by the Cardinals. Yes, they lost by 28 to the Arizona Cardinals. Needless to say, they have hit rock bottom with that loss.
Still, Detroit can be a dangerous team. They have the best WR in the entire league in Calvin Johnson. While the play of his teammates has been lacking, Johnson hasn’t skipped a beat. In fact, with 1667 yards on the year, he is likely to break Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yard record. With Matt Stafford throwing for over 4000 yards already, the Lions have the top passing offense in the league in terms of yards. So why aren’t they winning games? Well they aren’t scoring as much as they should. Despite his yardage total, Stafford has thrown for only 17 scores this year. Considering he has 629 passes, that is not a very good percentage. They have also lost a lot of tight games. 7 of their 10 losses have come by 7 or less points. A lot of these games they have fallen behind early, only to begin a comeback attempt that falls just short. A major key for Atlanta should be to start quick, because the Lions offense can put up points in bunches.
The Lions don’t have much at all to play for, but the Falcons can’t allow that to be a factor. They have to play them just like they did the Giants last week, and not like they played the Panthers the week before. With the playoffs right around the corner it is important for them to be on top of their game. They will get a week of rest after week 17 so they need to play their hardest at least in this game. Look for Atlanta to be a tight contest against the underperforming Lions.