Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0)
The Lions are 2-0, but I am not sold on them. They went 9-7 last year, but they didn’t beat a single playoff team and only won one game by more than a touchdown. This season, they have defensive end Ezekiel Ansah back fully healthy, but they are without fellow defensive end Kerry Hyder and left tackle Taylor Decker, both of whom are big losses that will hurt them against better teams. They’ll be joined on the sideline this week by promising rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis, who is out with a concussion, another significant loss.
The Lions’ two victories have come against the Cardinals and the Giants, neither of whom are likely to make the playoffs. Both wins came by double figures, but they actually lost the first down rate battle in both games. They trailed 17-9 in the 3rd quarter at home against the Cardinals before David Johnson got hurt and managed just 12 first downs against a Giants defense that was without Janoris Jenkins and BJ Goodson. If not for a punt return and a 56-yard field goal, that game in New York could have been much closer.
The Falcons this week are a step up in competition, as they are almost definitely going to be a playoff team. They have one of the best offenses in the league and a young defense that is improving by the week. The Lions are catching them at a good time though, as they will be without right tackle Ryan Schraeder and top edge rusher Vic Beasley. Atlanta should still win this game, but there isn’t line value with them as 3 point road favorites. If this line drops down to 2.5 between now and gametime, I would reconsider.
Atlanta Falcons 31 Detroit Lions 27
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -3