Falcons vs. Lions: Defense Tells the Tale in a Matchup of High Flying Offenses

Detroit Lions players celebrating

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:26 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017 2:26 PM GMT

The Lions will host the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field this weekend in a battle of undefeated division leaders. Let’s peruse the NFL odds and determine which team has the best chance of fattening our wallets when the dust settles.

High Octane Offenses Meet in Motor City

The careers of Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford have had similar trajectories. Both were highly touted and much ballyhooed first-round draft picks and both have pretty much lived up to their lofty billing, though neither is considered to be in the rarified air of Brady, Manning, Brees, and Rodgers as contemporaries. Ryan experienced a career year in 2016 after leading his team to the Super Bowl and was named the NFL’s MVP. Stafford has not enjoyed the same level of talent surrounding him but this year could be different and this meeting may give us a glimpse into what 2017 holds for both.

The Falcons are 2-0 straight up and 1-1 ATS while the Lions are 2-0 straight up and 2-0 ATS. Last week Atlanta showcased all that offensive weaponry against the Green Bay Packers in a game that saw Atlanta light up the scoreboard en route to a 34-23 victory that was more lopsided than the final score indicates. However, Atlanta wasn’t nearly as impressive in their opener when they took on the Bears at Soldier Field. Matt Ryan led two touchdown drives in the final quarter to defeat Chicago 23-27 but failed to cover the 6 ½ point impost.

The Lions roared in their opener with a 35-23 victory against a team known for its defensive prowess in the Arizona Cardinals. Last week, Detroit took to the highway and notched another victory when they defeated the Giants 24-10. This week they will face a much more difficult task when they try to keep pace with the high-flying Falcons as opposed to the lumbering offense of the New York Giants.

 

Defenses Tell the Tale

Both Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford have similar numbers coming into this one with Ryan tossing a pair of touchdowns, 572 yards passing, a 69 percent completion rate and no picks this season. Stafford has six touchdowns to his credit, 414 yards passing, a 71 percent completion rate and one interception thus far. Both command top 10 offenses and both will score but the question we must ask ourselves is how good are these defenses when we have offenses so similar and directed by quarterbacks operating at the same high level? The answer to this may be in the nuances many will not consider when considering their NFL picks this weekend. Jalen Collins, Atlanta’s tough cornerback is suspended and his backup, Robert Alford, is a poor replacement. In addition, Ryan may be without the services of right tackle Ryan Schraeder who is undergoing concussion protocol. His absence could make pressuring Ryan that much easier for the Lions.

All things being equal, we must side with the team that enjoys the home field advantage and appears to be deeper on defense. Furthermore, the NFL odds are giving us another incentive in the form of a three-point head start. Let’s back the Cats in Motown this Sunday.

 

Free NFL Pick: Lions +3Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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