Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Michael Arkin: Standing at 2-0 right now, Atlanta will head to the Motor City to face the Detroit Lions. Many think the Falcons will win this game and move on to Buffalo with ease. They should win this game, but Detroit has the offensive firepower to make this game harder than most think. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford was not born with a right arm, in fact he actually was born with a cannon to overtake the arm.
Stafford has weapons around him and they can be game-changers. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Eric Ebron can make a defense go crazy, but the Falcons will bolster a secondary that can be able to give fits to opposing offensive teams. Jones’ potential was showcased early in the 2016 NFL season, as he almost reached 500 yards after the first four games. Tate came on later in the year and showcased his athleticism, while Ebron will be counted on to be big red-zone target.
This game will likely be close, and the Falcons might be trailing at halftime. But I see Atlanta being able to come out in the second half and put the game away. Detroit has an average defense, and that is not a way to beat one of the best offensive teams in the NFL. Freeman and Coleman will both have 100 yard rushing days, and Atlanta will be able to put the Lions away to head back home undefeated.
Prediction: Atlanta 31, Detroit 20
Falcons Record: 3-0
Chase Irle: Coming off a tough, grind-it-out-game, in the first ever matchup at Mercedes-Benz stadium, the Falcons could be looking at a slight hangover against one of the more underrated teams around the NFL. The Lions led the NFC North for the majority of the season last year, and people around the league are looking for Matt Stafford to take a similar step that Matt Ryan did last season.
It has all the makings for an upset, but the problem is I do not think their offense has enough firepower to keep up with the Falcons. Despite the Lions having a formidable defense, Atlanta should be able to put up 30+ points. I have a lot of confidence in Matt Stafford, and Jim Bob Cooter is one of the most creative offensive coordinators in the league today, but the Atlanta secondary has too much talent to be consistently beat by the Lions’ receivers over and over again. If the Lions were to poise a real threat in this one they would have to control the game on the ground, something they are not very good at.
Like almost every team in the NFL, Dan Quinn has emphasized the turnover battle and wants to lead the league in turnover margin. This defense was opportunistic a year ago, but look for them to be even better in this area this season. Matt Stafford has been known to make a mistake or two, especially when he is playing catch-up. Atlanta plays clean, wins the turnover margin, and sends the Detroit fans home disappointed on their way to their second 3-0 start of the Dan Quinn era.
Prediction: Atlanta 30, Detroit 17
Falcons record: 3-0