Fans of the Detroit Lions better be sure to rise early this Sunday, lest then run the risk of missing out on seeing their team play this weekend. The Lions are over in what some refer to as Jolly Old England to take on the Atlanta Falcons, the ersatz home team (and thanks to the NFL for not taking a home game away from Detroit) at 9:30 in the morning Eastern time. Before the usual afternoon games even kick off, folks should know whether or not the Lions will end the first half of their season 6-2 or 5-3. In a league with only 16 games, that’s a notable distinction.
Heading into the year, this may have seemed like a somewhat difficult game, and to be fair that may end up happening. However, the Falcons have not been good so far this season. Their two wins have come against the New Orleans Saints in overtime at home, and against the lowly, lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions just beat the Saints themselves, and the Falcons are not as good as they were then. This is mostly because of injuries, primarily to the offensive line. Atlanta has an awful offensive line, as it has been racked with injuries, and the guys who remain aren’t very good. Their running game is poor, led by the withered husk of Steven Jackson, meaning that the Falcons have to rely on Matt Ryan and company.
Detroit has been great on defense, as we all know by now, and their defensive line has been tenacious. They should tear the Falcons’ offensive line apart, thus making it a long day for Ryan. Julio Jones is a great receiver, and Roddy White is still quite good, so this won’t be a cakewalk for the Detroit defense, but perhaps it will be, like, a caketrot or something.
Of course, unless the Lions shut out the Falcons or get some defensive touchdowns, the Detroit offense is going to have to do something. Atlanta’s defense has been bad, but, somewhat surprisingly, the Lions’ offense has only been marginally better. They have essentially no healthy tight ends, Reggie Bush is a question mark, and Calvin Johnson may not play either. Will the Lions just run out Golden Tate on routes? Detroit’s offensive line has not been good either, but the Falcons don’t have any notable pass rushers, so that is less of a concern. Detroit has struggled to run the ball. Can Joique Bell pick things up? This matchup is quite conducive, but so was last week’s, and the team was healthier and still only got their offense going late in the fourth quarter. Who knows what the kicking situation will be like as well. It’s London!
The Lions are clearly the more talented team, probably even with all their offensive injuries, and the field is neutral. Detroit should win. Their defense should lead the day again. However, this also feels like a low scoring game, where one big play or fluke occurrence can win things. One special teams touchdown for the Falcons or something, and they do have Devin Hester, could end up giving them, like, a 13-10 win. It seems unlikely, but stranger things have occurred. Like a Lions kicker making a field goal. Final Prediction: Lions 20, Falcons 10