Stafford will remain poised

Lions To Prove Mettle Against Falcons

The Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons face off in one of the most interesting contests in week three of the campaign.

The Lions proved their mettle by defeating the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Jim Caldwell’s men suggested that perhaps an improvement on their 9-7 campaign last season is on the cards this term.

Detroit’s offense were able to put enough points on the board with the aid of a special teams’ touchdown from Jamal Agnew. The defense held Eli Manning in check to ease past the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium where they struggled last season.

Atlanta pummelled the Green Bay Packers in their clash on Sunday Night Football. The two sides exchanged blows in the early stages of the game.

However, Dan Quinn’s men upped the ante to take the game away from Aaron Rodgers and company in their first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Falcons looked like the side that was on course for their first Super Bowl win in their triumph over the Packers. That will please Quinn more than anything, removing the potential of a hangover from their defeat to the New England Patriots in February.

Both sides are 2-0 heading into the contest and only one can advance with their 100% record intact.

We’ll now break down how each team has won their opening two matches and look at the betting odds for the contest.

Detroit Lions

Stafford will remain poised

The Lions built off their impressive win in week over the Arizona Cardinals, taking their form on the road. Caldwell’s men travelled to New York where last season they saw their hopes of winning the NFC North for the first time crushed by the Giants.

However, on this occasion they were by far the better side at MetLife Stadium. Stafford moved well in the pocket to connect with his receivers downfield. Left tackle Greg Robinson had issues with Olivier Vernon, but the quarterback’s awareness kept him out of trouble and his side moving.

Stafford was efficient with his throws downfield, although he only racked up 123 yards. He still threw for two touchdowns, connecting with Eric Ebron and Marvin Jones in the endzone. The 29-year-old has built up a strong rapport with Ebron and that will be vital over the course of the term.

Golden Tate had a quiet evening by his high standards, catching only four passes for 25 yards. The Lions have proven that they have strength in depth to score even without their main men on top form.  Although expect him to have a bounce back game against the Falcons as the contest will likely be a high-scoring affair.

There were encouraging signs for the Lions on the defensive side of the ball. Ezekiel Ansah had a down year in 2016, but returned to his best with a three-sack performance against the Giants. He was aided by the atrocious play of Ereck Flowers, but Detroit need to make plays on defense for a playoff charge.

Jarrad Davis also flashed his ability in the middle of the defense after being selected in the first round of the 2017 Draft. Those men will need to shine against Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons

Ryan will be targeting an improvement

Credit: Dale Zanine USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons improved on offense from their week one display against the Chicago Bears. Quinn’s men needed a goalline stand from their defense to hold out against Chicago after putting 23 points on the board. However, Ryan and company found form to overcome the Packers in their first match in their new home.

It was the running game that was the driving force behind the victory as Devonta Freeman rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Tevin Coleman had 42 yards on the ground off just six carries along with the Falcons’ only receiving touchdown of the game. Julio Jones tormented the Packers in the NFC Championship game last season and he loomed large with 105 yards last week.

Atlanta were not quite firing on all cylinders in their passing game, despite Jones’ performance. Ryan only had 252 yards in the air – not the dominance he enjoyed during his MVP campaign last season.

The positive aspect of that for Quinn and his team is that they’re not over reliant on their quarterback. The 31-year-old will be desperate to click into top gear against the Lions to get into his full rhythm to make another surge for the MVP award at the end of the term.

Defensively, the Falcons were struck with a blow by the news that Vic Beasley will be ruled out for a month. It was his hit on Rodgers that forced a fumble that allowed Desmond Trufant to score the touchdown that would take the game beyond Green Bay.

Quinn’s men will have to be able to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks without him otherwise they will suffer the consequences, especially against quality signal-callers.

Betting Options

The Lions played complementary football as all three phases of their team combined to deliver the victory over the Giants. Atlanta too were well balanced to secure their win over the Packers. Therefore it’s going to be a close contest at Ford Field, with the game likely being decided by who has the ball last.

It’s hard to overlook the Beasley on the Falcons. He was their best pass-rusher last season. The 25-year-old led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 and seemed on course for another dominant term, with two in the opening two weeks of the campaign.

His absence could be the deciding factor in the contest as Stafford will have time to pick apart Atlanta’s secondary. He proved in the opener that not even Patrick Peterson can cover forever when throwing a touchdown strike to Jones.

Therefore he should have the same success against the Falcons. Back the Lions at odds of +135   with Bovada sportsbook to claim the win at Ford Field. The spread favours Atlanta in the contest therefore take Detroit +2 with Winner Sports at odds of +115   – even a close defeat will yield a win.

The contest should be a high-scoring affair with both teams reaching into the 20s. Take over a combined 55 points at odds of +160 with Ladbrokes.

Tips Summary

Detroit Lions To Beat Atlanta Falcons
Sunday 24th September 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +140

Detroit Lions To Cover +2 Spread
Sunday 24th September 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +115

Combined Over 55 Points To Be Scored In Game
Sunday 24th September 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +160

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