Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions: Atlanta to hit top gear in Motor City

Different class: Julio Jones is a cut above Detroit's receivers
Different class: Julio Jones is a cut above Detroit's receivers

Will home advantage prove crucial for Detroit? Or wiĺl the extra day's rest give Atlanta the edge? Neil Harvey looks ahead to Sunday's NFL action...

"having history, form and better personnel on side makes Atlanta look a healthy call in this contest"

Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Start Time - Sunday September 24th, 18:00 BST
TV Coverage - Live on Sky Sports Action

Going into the Lions' den is never easy. But if there's a team that can do it, it's this Atlanta side. The Falcons are hot on both offense and defense. Last season, they should have won the Super Bowl - with only a spectacular crisis of confidence denying them. This year, they are on a revenge mission to put things straight, and look to have just the personnel they need to pull it off.

Falcons flying

Matt Ryan
has yet to throw an interception through two games. The result has been two wins, including a comfortable victory over the much fancied Packers. Out wide, Julio Jones remains one of the most dangerous receivers in pro football. While Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman continue to compliment each other, providing a weighty 1-2 punch to Atlanta's ground game.  

Throw in on top of that, the return to form of tight end Austin Hooper, and what you have altogether is an offense that looks well capable of making another run at the title.

Atlanta's defense meanwhile, continues to mature. Last week it held Aaron Rodgers to two touchdowns and two turnovers. It might not sound much, but you won't see too many few defenses break even against the mighty Rodgers. 

Fake form

Detroit we must remember are also unbeaten through two games. Their Week One win over Arizona raised eyebrows. But given how the Cardinals subsequently laboured past the woeful Colts, that victory starts to look somewhat less remarkable. Likewise, credit is due for winning in New York last week. But again, the Giants are another team that seems to be regressing.  

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

This will be by far the Lions' stiffest task yet. And making it more difficult for them is the fact that they're coming off a short week. A day might not seem much. But in terms of recuperation and tactical preparation - it's huge. 

Matt Stafford is a top quarterback. But he lacks quality around him. Receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate will hold no fear for the Falcons defense. Nor will running back Ameer Abdullah. Detroit are good at beating up on fair to middling teams. But the Falcons are different gravy. 

And this is where the Lions struggle, having gone 0-4 against the spread in recent games against teams with winning records. They also haven't fared well against the Falcons specifically, winning none of their last four meetings and only one of their last six encounters in Detroit.

Game Picks

Nothing is sure in football, but having history, form and better personnel on side makes Atlanta look a healthy call in this contest. The markets are giving Detroit a 3 point head start. But I don't think a field goal is enough to save them and even suggest taking the Falcons to win this by at least a touchdown, at a greatly increased price.

Recommended Bets:

3pts Atlanta (-1.5) to win at Half Time @ 2.01/1
3pts Atlanta (-6.5) to win at Full Time @ 15/8 (Sportsbook) 
1pt Julio Jones to score 1st Touchdown @ 9.08/1
2pts Matt Stafford passing yards to be Under 273.5 @ 1.9620/21

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