Falcons Look To Wrap Up NFC Crown

Detroit reached the halfway mark of the season at 4-4 and looked every chance of making a charge for the postseason. Six weeks on and the Lions haven’t won since that point, including a run of three straight defeats at Ford Field where they lost to the Packers by 4  , the Texans by 3 in overtime, and the Colts by 2.

Contrast that to the Falcons who have lost just twice this season, and should go in to the playoffs as the NFC’s top seed. One thing that may give the Lions hope, though, is that Atlanta’s two defeats have come against teams with losing records: New Orleans (6-8) and Carolina (5-9).

After a couple of weeks of low production, Matt Ryan has returned to form the past fortnight, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-0  wipeout of the New York Giants. He also has, arguably, the best one-two receiving punch in the league, in the form of Julio Jones  and Roddy White  . Jones had two touchdown receptions against the Giants which were, surprisingly, his first TDs at home this season. Running back Michael Turner  has also been in fine form; last week was the fifth consecutive game where the Falcons’ star found the end zone.

Lions quarterback Matt Stafford had a day to forget in his team’s thumping by lowly Arizona last weekend, getting picked off three times. Even with his struggles, wideout Calvin Johnson  has been racking up some amazing numbers. He stands just 182 receiving yards off Jerry Rice’s single-season record, and he hasn’t gone under 121 yards in a game since the end of October. Much like Turner, Detroit running back Mikel Leshoure  has also been sniffing out the end zone of late, having scored in seven consecutive matches.

These teams have only met once in the past four season, with Atlanta posting a 23-16 win back in 2011.

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