With two weeks left in the regular season, the action begins on Saturday instead of Thursday now. That’s too bad as we were getting very used to the Thursday starts.
This week’s action kicks off with he Atlanta Falcons heading north to face a Detroit Lions team that has self-destructed. It’s hard to believe that the Lions are just one win better than the Oakland Raiders but that’s the reality as they enter on a six-game losing streak. They now find themselves as a three-point home dog on the NFL betting odds on Saturday.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Odds: Falcons -3
How The Falcons Can Win
The Falcons are now 12-2 after dismantling the New York Giants 34-0 to avenge last season’s playoff loss, and this was an important win for Atlanta, which has struggled in “big” games in recent years. This isn’t a postseason victory and there are many that think the Giants’ playoff pedigree would make this a different outcome if that game is played, say, a month later, but it had to feel good for Atlanta to not only take down the defending Super Bowl champs, but to put a beating on them. Now, the Falcons can clinch homefield throughout the playoffs with a victory over the Lions, and if they can play in the Georgia Dome for the postseason, watch out.
How The Lions Can Win
The Lions were the preseason “it” team, but a 38-10 loss in Arizona was their sixth in a row to drop Detroit to 4-9, and now it is simply a matter of mental strength and pride. We’ll see if the Lions have any left after losing to a team that was blown out 58-0 in Arizona the previous week. The defense could stand to play better as the Lions have allowed 34 points or more in four of their six games during this skid, and no matter how good your offense is, you’re not going to win many games when you’re giving up that many points. That is going to be easier said than done against the Falcons, who are seventh in the league in points scored; the Lions, on the other hand, are 28th in points against.
Outlook & Pick
Atlanta comes in as a field-goal favorite on the football betting lines on the road in Detroit where they have lost six of nine outright since 1992. However, the Falcons have covered in six of those games. The Lions are a miserable 1-6 ATS in domes this season and being a dome team, that can’t be a good omen. The Falcons have done a good job of taking care of business for the betters, covering in eight of 13 games in 2012.
The Falcons can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that is the chance to play in Atlanta for the entire postseason, which would probably make them the Super Bowl favorites. The Lions went out like a lamb against the Cardinals and that isn’t a good sign going into a game against arguably the best team in the league and one that still has a lot to play for. Look for the Falcons to run away with this game and cover the spread.
Pick: Falcons -3