In Week 8, the Detroit Lions return to London for the first time since 1993, as they take on the lowly Atlanta Falcons. Detroit comes into this game with a lot of momentum, being winners of their last two games, tied for first in the NFC North and still maintaining the NFL’s No. 1 defense.
However, fans were a bit worried this week with the news that all three of the Lions’ tight ends may be unable to play Sunday. Joseph Fauria (ankle) and Eric Ebron (hamstring) were listed as “Out” on the Lions’ injury report Friday, while Brandon Pettigrew (foot) was listed as doubtful.
The Falcons come into this game only scoring 20 points in their last two games. The Lions’ stout defense will be licking their chops all game.
What to watch for:
Calvin Johnson practiced all this week in limited quantities. With his status listed as questionable for Sunday, the Lions hope their star player can suit up and help offset the injuries sustained by all three tight ends.
The Falcons are now on their third string center after Peter Konz went down last week against the Ravens. Atlanta struggled to keep Matt Ryan upright last week against a Ravens defense that accumulated nine quarterback hits and five sacks. Look for the Lions’ aggressive front seven to antagonize Matty Ice all game long.
The Lions secondary will face its toughest wide receiver combo this weekend with Julio Jones and Roddy White. Detroit fared well against the Packers’ Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb earlier in the year, but allowed both Marques Colston and Kenny Stills of the Saints to break 100 yards receiving last week. Keeping pressure on Ryan will be the best defense against it and that is something the Lions have done well all year.
At the beginning of the year this match-up looked to be an all-out offensive shootout, but things have changed between then and now. This game will come down to which is the better strength, Atlanta’s fifth ranked passing game or the Lions’ top-ranked defense.
It is true that defense wins championships, but the team that scores the most points wins the game. If Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate can have the same success as they did last week, Atlanta might be in trouble. Keep the sacks coming and the Lions will roar out of London with a victory.