The Falcons have started to drop in altitude, and this week things don’t get easier when the Lions come to town. The NFL Odds have the Falcons as +3 ½ underdogs, with a total of 47 points, and even with Calvin Johnson might not play, could the Lions be the play?
Megatron on shelf
Calvin Johnson did not play this past week even though he warmed up before the game, and with the Lions facing a bye week after Week 8, Detroit could choose to hold their star receiver out one more time in order to get him healthy for the stretch run of the season. The Lions escaped last week with a big win against the Saints, and as they sit atop the NFC North at 5-2, there is absolutely no reason to rush Johnson back. I could be wrong, but when handicapping this game, make sure you double-check the player status of Johnson before locking anything in. This news could cause a shift on the NFL odds boards, and if you like the Lions, waiting may be the best course of action.
However the Lions’ defense has been carrying them, and their offense should have little trouble moving the ball against the very bad Falcons defense this week. At 2-5, the Falcons are giving up nearly 275 passing yards per game, and another 137 per game on the ground. On top of that, they have had little success running the ball. Rookie Devonta Freeman has gotten some more touches as the weeks go on, and with Steven Jackson averaging 3.7 yards per carry, Matt Ryan has had to do even more this season, limiting their offensive upside.
This week even at home, the tough Lions defense is going to be hard to beat. Drew Brees just threw for 342 yards on the Lions this past week, so it’s not impossible to think that Ryan and the Falcons could have some success this week offensively. Running the ball against one of the best run defenses in the NFL might be difficult, but there is a good chances that even without Johnson, this could be a high scoring game for both sides.
The Sharp Pick
For the Lions, the over is 11-5 in their last 16 games as favorites of 3 ½ to 10 points, and in Week 8, these teams historically cash the over. The Lions have cashed the over in Week 8 in the last four years in a row, while the Falcons are 5-2 cashing the over in Week 8 in the last seven seasons.
Even though the under is 4-1 in the Falcons’ last five games as an underdog, at home things should improve. They aren’t normally home dogs, so that trend is likely more road than home games. The Lions’ secondary wasn’t exposed last week against the Saints, but it was proven beatable. The Falcons will be forced to abandon the run early in this game, and the Lions might have to as well. Neither one of their running backs are impressing anyone this season, and with a game full of throwing should come some quick scores for both teams, and a higher scoring game.
For your NFL Picks this week, add over 47 points for this game.
Free NFL Pick: OVER 47