Saturday night’s match-up features two teams going in opposite directions.
The Atlanta Falcons (12-2) are coming off a huge blowout victory over the New York Giants. On the other hand, the Detroit Lions (4-10) were blown out by the Arizona Cardinals.
The Lions are currently on a six-game skid and clearly have no shot at the playoffs. Thus, their focus has shifted to helping Calvin Johnson break Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season.
Rice had 1,848 yards in 1995; Johnson currently has 1,667. It’s certainly possible for Johnson to break Rice’s record.
Johnson’s monster season is a large reason why Detroit has the league’s top-ranked passing offense. On the season, Matthew Stafford has 4,252 yards. However, he has only 17 touchdowns, and he’s thrown 15 interceptions; last season, the quarterback threw 41 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions.
Despite being second in yards per game, the Lions are ranked 14th in points per game. Atlanta’s defense allows 18.5 points per game – good for fourth in the league.
A win for Atlanta would secure the top seed in the playoffs. Last time the Falcons were the top playoff seed was in 2010, and of course, they were dismantled by the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
Last season, the Falcons defeated the Lions 23-16 in Ford Field. Matt Ryan looked to have suffered a season-ending injury, but he returned a few plays later to lead Atlanta to victory.
After the game, center Todd McClure and wide receiver Roddy White complained about the actions of the controversial Ndamukong Suh while Ryan was on the ground squirming in pain. The two Falcons claimed Suh and his teammate Cliff Avril said, “Get [Ryan] off the field.”
In any case, the Falcons offensive line will need to protect Ryan from the disruptive pass rusher. If Suh is able to generate pressure on a consistent basis, the Lions have a shot at pulling an upset.
Two weeks ago, Atlanta went into the house of an inferior opponent – the Carolina Panthers – and got thrashed. This time around, the Falcons are determined to not let another letdown happen.
Points Scored: 26.5 (7th)
Total Offense: 377.4 (7th)
Passing Offense: 287.5 (5th)
Rushing Offense: 89.9 (28th)
Points Allowed: 18.5 (4th)
Total Defense: 354.4 (19th)
Passing Defense: 229.5 (17th)
Rushing Defense: 124.9 (24th)
Points Scored: 23.6 (14th)
Total Offense: 406.5 (2nd)
Passing Offense: 302.1 (1st)
Rushing Offense: 104.4 (23rd)
Points Allowed: 27.1 (28th)
Total Defense: 337.5 (12th)
Passing Defense: 218.1 (11th)
Rushing Defense: 119.4 (18th)