Preview: Lions at Falcons

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The Atlanta Falcons hardly look ready for prime time this season so perhaps a trip overseas is coming at an opportune time as the struggling club attempts to halt a four-game losing streak. The Falcons have dropped all four games by double digits and look to rebound against the Detroit Lions on Sunday morning at London's Wembley Stadium. “We need to worry about this coming week,” Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We need to prepare better, practice better and play better. We know what to do."

Even though the Falcons are designated the home team, not having to play in Atlanta is a boost for the Lions, who are tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North following last week's dramatic comeback win over New Orleans. Star wideout Calvin Johnson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday and Detroit hopes he can rejoin the lineup after missing the past two games with a high ankle sprain. It marks the first international contest for both the Falcons and Lions and will be the first NFL tilt to ever be televised at 9:30 a.m. ET.

TV: 9:30 a.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions -3.5. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-5): Atlanta came into the season with questions surrounding its defense, but the Falcons have struggled on the other side of the ball - blowing a 10-point second-half lead against the New York Giants in Week 5 and scoring only one touchdown in each of their last two losses to Chicago (27-13) and Baltimore (29-7). Ryan opened the season with a 448-yard, three-TD performance in a win over New Orleans, but he has been limited to one scoring pass in four of the past six games. An already-suspect running game has been further hindered by an injury-ravaged offensive line that is missing four starters. Atlanta is 30th overall in both points (28.4) and total yards (412.1) and has only seven sacks.

ABOUT THE LIONS (5-2): Johnson has been a non-factor since his ankle issues cropped up in Week 4, but Detroit has compensated for the superstar receiver's loss with a defense that permits a league-low 290.3 yards and ranks second with 15.0 points allowed. The Lions have also registered 21 sacks and could build upon that total against Ryan, who has been sacked nine times over the past two games. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford has thrown for only nine scoring passes versus six interceptions, but he rallied Detroit with two TD passes in the final 3:38 last week to erase a 13-point deficit against the Saints. Golden Tate had 10 catches for 154 yards and a TD last week and has at least seven receptions in four straight games.


1. Falcons WR Jones and Detroit's Tate rank Nos. 3-4 in the league with 49 and 48 catches, respectively.

2. Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) did not practice Thursday.

3. Atlanta has won three straight against Detroit, but the last two have been at home.

PREDICTION: Lions 23, Falcons 20

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Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Capacity: 71,000

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Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons

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Last Injuries

Atlanta Falcons

  • Kendall Sheffield

    day-to-day | questionable

    Sheffield has sat out the previous three games due to a foot injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up Week 4 versus the Packers.

  • A.J. Terrell

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Terrell Smith has been designated for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will be sidelined for an indefinite period.

  • Takkarist McKinley

    day-to-day | questionable

    McKinley missed the last game due to a groin injury, and it is unknown if he will participate in Week 4 against the Packers.

  • Kaleb McGary

    day-to-day | questionable

    McGary missed the last game due to an MCL sprain, and his availability for Week 4 against the Packers is up in the air.

  • Foyesade Oluokun

    day-to-day | questionable

    Oluokun was held out of the last game with cramping in his hamstring, and it is undetermined if he will be ready for Week 4 versus the Packers.

  • Russell Gage

    day-to-day | questionable

    Gage left the last game due to a head injury, and his status for Week 4 against the Packers is in question.

  • Grady Jarrett

    day-to-day | questionable

    Jarrett departed the previous game with a hip injury, and it is uncertain if he will line up versus the Packers in Week 4.

  • Younghoe Koo

    Out indefinitely | out

    Koo will miss an undetermined length of time due to a groin strain.

Detroit Lions

  • C.J. Moore

    day-to-day | questionable

    Moore was held out of the last game due to a calf injury, and it is uncertain if he will be active Week 4 versus the Saints.

  • Desmond Trufant

    day-to-day | questionable

    Trufant has sat out the previous two games with a hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup Week 4 against the Saints.

  • Hunter Bryant

    day-to-day | questionable

    Bryant has missed the past three game due to a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will make his season debut against the Saints in Week 4.

  • Nick Williams

    Prob Sun | probable

    Williams was held out of the last game due to a shoulder injury, but he is projected to be in the lineup Sunday versus the Cardinals.

  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Vaitai has missed the past two games with a foot injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be on the field against the Cardinals on Sunday.

  • Kenny Golladay

    Prob Sun | probable

    Golladay has been unavailable for the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, but he is expected to make his season debut Sunday against the Cardinals.

  • Joe Dahl

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Dahl has wound up on the injured reserve list due to a groin injury, and there is no indication when he will return to the fold.

  • Darryl Roberts

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Roberts has a calf injury, and it is uncertain if he will play Sunday versus the Packers.