The Atlanta Falcons look to continue their march through the NFC North when they visit the Detroit Lions in a matchup of undefeated teams on Sunday. The Falcons are 2-0 after posting wins over Chicago and Green Bay as they aim to return to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
The Lions are 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and have been surprisingly tough on defense, especially against the run. “They’ve stepped up to the challenge for two weeks, but there’s a third one looming, and a very good one at that,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters. “The minute you start talking about what you think you’ve gotten done in this league, you end up getting your ears kicked in.” Atlanta’s balanced offense, which is led by quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Devonta Coleman, will provide a tougher challenge than the Lions have faced thus far. Ryan has torched Detroit for 507 yards with six touchdowns and one interception in the last two meetings.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -3. O/U: 50.5
ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-0): Atlanta’s offense hasn’t been quite as explosive as it was a year ago, but the Falcons have been efficient and have yet to commit a turnover. After a sub-par effort running the ball against Chicago in Week 1, the Falcons got the ground game going against Green Bay as Freeman rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Atlanta’s defense relies on a strong pass rush but will be without its top man in Vic Beasley Jr., who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
ABOUT THE LIONS (2-0): Detroit ranks fourth against the run but has been susceptible versus the pass despite putting pressure on the quarterback. They’ve tried to take some pressure off their own signal-caller, however, and an improved ground game has made things easier for Matthew Stafford. The veteran has passed for a modest 414 yards through two games but is tied for the league lead with six touchdown tosses, and running back Ameer Abdullah recorded a career-high 86 rushing yards in Monday’s 24-10 win over the New York Giants.
1. Ryan has thrown a touchdown pass in 21 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league.
2. In his past 15 home contests, Stafford has averaged 276.6 passing yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions.
3. Detroit WR Golden Tate has recorded at least six receptions in his last three home games.
PREDICTION: Lions 27, Falcons 24