The Atlanta Falcons hardly look ready for prime time this
season so perhaps a trip overseas is coming at an opportune
time as the struggling club attempts to halt a four-game losing
streak. The Falcons have dropped all four games by double
digits and look to rebound against the Detroit Lions on Sunday
morning at London’s Wembley Stadium. “We need to worry about
this coming week,” Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We need
to prepare better, practice better and play better. We know
what to do.”
Even though the Falcons are designated the home team, not
having to play in Atlanta is a boost for the Lions, who are
tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North following last week’s
dramatic comeback win over New Orleans. Star wideout Calvin
Johnson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday and
Detroit hopes he can rejoin the lineup after missing the past
two games with a high ankle sprain. It marks the first
international contest for both the Falcons and Lions and will
be the first NFL tilt to ever be televised at 9:30 a.m. ET.
TV: 9:30 a.m. ET, FOX. LINE:
Lions -3.5. O/U: 46.5
LINE HISTORY: The line has had no movement
since opening at Atlanta +3.5. The total has dropped only half
a point from a 47 point opening to 46.5.
INJURY REPORT: Lions – WR Calvin Johnson
(Ques-Ankle), RB Reggie Bush (Doub-Ankle), TE Brandon Pettigrew
(Doub-Ankle) Falcons – G Justin Blalock
(Prob-Back), DT Jonathan Babineaux (Doub-Foot)
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Mike Smith is squarely on
the hot seat after a fourth straight loss. The Falcons head to
London for a must win game before their bye week. They are 16-5
ATS in their last 21 after scoring 15 or less. Detroit stays
atop the NFC North with a come-from-behind win over the Saints
and now heads to London for an early start time.” – Covers Expert Matt Fargo
ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS, 3-4 O/U):
Atlanta came into the season with questions surrounding its
defense, but the Falcons have struggled on the other side of
the ball – blowing a 10-point second-half lead against the New
York Giants in Week 5 and scoring only one touchdown in each of
their last two losses to Chicago (27-13) and Baltimore (29-7).
Ryan opened the season with a 448-yard, three-TD performance in
a win over New Orleans, but he has been limited to one scoring
pass in four of the past six games. An already-suspect running
game has been further hindered by an injury-ravaged offensive
line that is missing four starters. Atlanta is 30th overall in
both points (28.4) and total yards (412.1) and has only seven
ABOUT THE LIONS (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS, 2-5 O/U):
Johnson has been a non-factor since his ankle issues cropped up
in Week 4, but Detroit has compensated for the superstar
receiver’s loss with a defense that permits a league-low 290.3
yards and ranks second with 15.0 points allowed. The Lions have
also registered 21 sacks and could build upon that total
against Ryan, who has been sacked nine times over the past two
games. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford has thrown for only nine
scoring passes versus six interceptions, but he rallied Detroit
with two TD passes in the final 3:38 last week to erase a
13-point deficit against the Saints. Golden Tate had 10 catches
for 154 yards and a TD last week and has at least seven
receptions in four straight games.
*Falcons are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
*Under is 5-0 in Lions last 5 games following a ATS loss.
*Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
*Lions are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 52.83 percent of
Covers users are backing the Lions and 57.4 are
backing the over.