Alex Lord’s Prediction
As always, my prediction for this Sunday’s matchup against the Lions will be supported by comparing opposing position groups. To give a recap on how this 2020 season has gone, I am 3-3 on predictions this year. Forecasting losses to Green Bay, Dallas, and Seattle are my wins; while I was wrong on the outcomes of the Minnesota, Chicago, and Carolina games.
We will analyze both teams’ offensive vs. defensive lines in the trenches because this game will be won by the big guys up front. The Falcons line mauled a limping Vikings front seven last week, and I believe they have the advantage over an even worse run defense this Sunday, especially with question marks surrounding Trey Flowers‘ availability. Likewise, the Detroit offensive line will look to control the tempo by running the ball.
What is different is the Falcons run defense is surprisingly good statistically. Their pass defense, though, not so much. With Frank Ragnow, the Lion’s best offensive lineman, questionable to play, Grady Jarrett should continue to feast. Takk and Dante Fowler are both questionable, so this balances out, no advantage for either side.
Comparing the skill positions is going to be more speculative due to both team’s injuries. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Kendall Sheffield were all limited yesterday at practice. I expect them all to play, however. Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola both were limited, while former Falcon Desmond Trufant was absent from practice yet again. Seeing as the Falcons have a better shot of being healthy along the perimeter, the advantage goes to Atlanta. Full strength or limited, this Atlanta offensive skill group is one of the best in the NFL.
The Falcons win this game by committing to running the ball with Todd Gurley, while the defense maintains the attacking-style mindset they had last week. I have a strange feeling Matt Stafford is going to light this secondary up. The Falcons must pressure him; he is still one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league.
Falcons 31, Lions 30
Chase Irle’s Prediction
Wow! Who would have thought… the Falcons finally looked like a competent football team. Raheem Morris taking over as interim head coach clearly had an effect; however, the Vikings are among the worst teams in football. Let’s not get too excited.
As far as holding onto leads, the Falcons and Lions are mirror images of each other, so that’s how I imagine this game will fold-out. One team will jump way ahead, and the other will come roaring back. I’m going to say it is the Falcons who take the early lead; the Lions string together some fourth-quarter possessions to make it interesting, but Morris’ impact once again shines as the Falcons are able to close a tight game in the fourth quarter with a defensive stand.
Falcons 34, Lions 31
Jake Gordon’s Prediction
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. You have to love what we saw out of the Falcons in Raheem Morris’ Atlanta debut as the head coach. I actually talked to Chase about this earlier this week, and I think he stole my idea a bit. I like the Falcons to jump out to a big lead; however — for the sake of mixing things up — I have the Lions completing the comeback, stopping any hype Raheem Morris was gaining towards becoming the full-time head coach in 2021.
Falcons 27, Lions 28