By: Maximillan C Burgos
The Atlanta Falcons travel to Detroit to take on the Lions. Both teams sit on top of their divisions at 2-0 for the season. Both teams have also ranked amongst the top ten in points scored so far this season. However you put it, the battle at Ford Field will be a good one.
Both teams have electric offenses. Both Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan have been solid to start the season. Stafford has already thrown for six touchdowns to open up the year. Ryan has thrown for only two touchdowns, but unlike Stafford, he has not thrown an interception yet.
Both teams look good in the ground game too. The Lions have rushed for slightly more yards than the Falcons on the season, but they don’t have the same weapons the backfield as the Falcons. The Falcons have both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, both of which can catch balls out of the backfield and make people miss in open space.
The Lions have a rushing-by-committee approach, but the primary Ameer Abdullah hasn’t been anything special. His average yards per carry is poor, only managing less than three yards which is below average. Stafford has been the best average yards per carry on the team and he has only rushed for 37 yards on 5 carries. Coincidently, Stafford is the second highest rusher on the team, which is not something to be proud of, but its still early in the season.
What has been impressive this season is the Lions’ ability to stop the run. In the first two games, the Lions have only allowed 107 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Opposing teams average only three yards per carry.
The Lions have also shown the ability to force turnovers through pressure on the quarterback. The Lions already have four interceptions, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown to start the year off.
Star defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has made his presence felt in opposing backfields as well. He already has three sacks, seven solo tackles and a forced fumble on the year.
Not to be outdone, the Falcons also have shown an ability to get after the quarterback. The Falcons already have seven sacks on the season but have only taken the ball away twice.
The last time these two teams saw each other on the field, the game came down to the wire. The Lions managed to pull out the victory in the fourth quarter, winning by only one point as the clock wound down to zero.
The Falcons handled the Green Bay Packers expertly last week. The defensive line for the Falcons made Aaron Rodgers sweat in the pocket, pushing his offensive tackles deep into the backfield to create pressure and sacks. If the Falcons can do that to the Detroit offensive line, it’s going to be a long day for Stafford.
The Falcons defense looks better this year than it did last year, but if the Lions can run the ball consistently and seal the edges when doing so, they might have a shot at pulling off the upset at home. The Falcons, however, are the heavy favorites coming into the game.