Lions host Falcons in matchup of teams with long NFL postseason droughts

ATLANTA (2-0) at DETROIT (1-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox

OPENING LINE: Lions by 3, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Atlanta 1-1; Detroit 1-1.

SERIES RECORD: Lions lead 25-14.

LAST MEETING: Falcons beat Lions 20-16 on Dec. 26, 2021, in Atlanta.

LAST WEEK: Falcons beat Packers 25-24; Lions lost to Seahawks 37-31 OT.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Falcons plus-2; Lions minus-3

FALCONS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie RB Bijan Robinson. The No. 8 overall pick has started his NFL career with a pair of dynamic performances. The former Texas star is coming off a 124-yard rushing effort against the Packers, which included a key fourth-down run that set up the winning field goal in a 25-24 victory.

LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs. Detroit had a chance to draft Robinson with the No. 6 overall pick, but traded down to acquire the 12th pick and selected Gibbs. The former Alabama star will have plenty of chances to show what he can do because RB David Montgomery has a thigh bruise. Gibbs has 14 carries for 59 yards and nine catches for 57 yards.

KEY MATCHUP: Falcons QB Desmond Ridder vs. Detroit secondary. The Lions have been vulnerable to the passing game through the first two weeks and their secondary is banged up, potentially giving Atlanta an opportunity to open up its offense. Ridder had his first career interception against the Packers, but he also threw for a career-high 237 yards and led a fourth-quarter comeback. WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts have combined for just 10 catches and 114 yards receiving.

KEY INJURIES: Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and former Lions CB Jeff Okudah (foot) both missed the first two games. Patterson was expected to return against the Packers after fully participating in practice during the week, but the Falcons decided to sit him out. … LB Troy Anderson (concussion protocol) also missed the Packers game. … Lions DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (torn pectoral muscle) and DE James Houston (broken ankle) went on IR after being hurt last week. … Montgomery (thigh bruise), WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (toe) and RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) were hurt against Seattle and were held out of practice Wednesday. … OT Taylor Decker (ankle) didn’t play last week and missed practice Wednesday.

SERIES NOTES: The teams have split their past four meetings, which have been decided by a total of 10 points, and are playing in Detroit for the first time since 2017.

STATS AND STUFF: Atlanta has started 2-0 for just the 11th time in the franchise’s 58-season history. … Each of the six NFL teams to start 2-0 last season made the playoffs and 64% have since 1990. … The Falcons have won their first three games just six times, most recently in 2017. … LT Jake Matthews has made 146 consecutive starts, leaving him just eight shy of Matt Ryan’s team record. … K Younghoe Koo has made six game-winning FGs. … Eight of the 14 teams to make the NFL playoffs last season lost at least one of their first two games and 42% of 1-1 teams since 1990 have earned a spot in the postseason. … Josh Reynolds has become the team’s No. 2 WR, making nine catches for 146 yards and two TDs. … Rookie Sam LaPorta has 10 receptions, including six for first downs, and 102 yards receiving to rank among NFL tight end leaders. DE Aidan Hutchinson, who had 9 1/2 sacks last season as a rookie, does not have a sack through two games and the team has only one sack. … QB Jared Goff threw a pick-6 last week, his first interception in 383 passes to end the third-longest streak in NFL history.

FANTASY TIP: Pitts may have a favorable matchup to have a breakout game. Detroit’s linebackers are struggling in pass coverage and the secondary is banged up, giving the No. 4 overall pick from the 2021 draft a chance to make some big plays. Pitts, who has just four catches for 59 yards this season, had 68 receptions for 1,026 yards in his first NFL season.



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