Atlanta Falcons (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U) vs. Detroit Lions (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Atlanta Falcons -3. Total: 49.
The Detroit Lions are in the midst of a short week as they prepare to host the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon. Detroit is coming off a Monday night win over the Giants, which was preceded by a victory over Arizona. This is the only all-undefeated Week 2 matchup, as the Falcons are also 2-0 having taken care of Chicago and Green Bay.
Beasley on the shelf
Atlanta outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. is out for Sunday–and likely beyond–after sustaining a hamstring injury in this past weekend’s win over the Packers. Beasley’s hamstring is partially torn and will likely sideline him for approximately one month. The former Clemson star led the NFL in sacks last season and he already had two in 2017–one in each game–to go along with four tackles and a forced fumble. Defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw will also be on the sideline against the Lions after being felled by an ankle injury against Green Bay. First-round draft pick Takk McKinley will get more time rushing the passer off the left edge in Beasley’s absence, while Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby will also be called on to step up in Beasley’s absence.
“We certainly won’t put that kind of timeline on him,” head coach Dan Quinn noted. “I know he’s a guy who’s going to work really hard at it. I know he’ll miss this week. And past that, we’ll see where it goes, if he’s able to make it back in time for the next game (home vs. Buffalo, Oct. 1), and then we have a bye. So we’ll see where it goes.”
No case of the Mondays
Only three teams in the NFC are 2-0. Two are playing each other this week as the Falcons and Lions head into a huge Week 3 showdown. Detroit matched Atlanta in the standings by going on the road to beat the Giants 24-10 on Monday night. Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 15 of 21 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. He hooked up with Marvin Jones on a 27-yard scoring strike and with Eric Ebron from seven yards out. Playing with a lead in hand basically the entire way, Detroit kept the rock on the ground for the most part and finished with 138 rushing yards on 32 attempts. Ameer Abdullah had 17 carries for 86 yards. The defense sacked Eli Manning five times and held New York to 270 yards of total offense.
“I think that’s stuff you guys like to talk about and write about,” Stafford told the media when asked if Monday’s win made some kind of statement. “For us, we’re on a short week playing a Super Bowl runner-up. We’ll enjoy this one for about 30 minutes and start looking at Atlanta.”
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games
- 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against the NFC
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with winning records
The Detroit Lions are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against the NFC
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games on fieldturf
Unlike in past years, this is a Falcons’ defense that is good enough to make up for absences. Atlanta did a good job of containing Aaron Rodgers and even returned one Rodgers fumble for a touchdown (by cornerback Desmond Trufant). On the other side of the ball, reigning MVP Matt Ryan and running back Devonta Freeman once again have the Falcons’ offense looking like one of the best in the business. Atlanta is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 on the road, 7-2 ATS in its last nine against the NFC, and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 against winning opponents. The Lions are 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall, 2-5 ATS in their last seven against the NFC, 2-5 ATS in their last seven on fieldturf, 0-4 ATS in their last four against winning opponents, 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings between the two teams, and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six at home against the Falcons. Look for those trends to continue.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3
Two of the highest-paid players in the game (including the absolute highest in Stafford) will share the stage on Sunday afternoon. Ryan has not yet thrown an interception this season and looked much better in Week 2 than he did at Chicago. Stafford has six TDs compared to only one INT so far in 2017. The over is 17-3-1 in the Falcons’ last 21 overall, 7-0 in their last seven against winning opponents, 12-3-1 in their last 15 following a win, 4-1-1 in their last six on the road against opponents with winning home records, 13-2-1 in their last 16 against the NFC, and 13-3 in their last 16 on fieldturf. Expect this one to go over the total.