How can anyone put faith in a Detroit team that turned the ball over four times to the Arizona Cardinals, while only sacking Ryan Lindley once? Meanwhile, Atlanta comes off its most lopsided win of the season against the normally December-potent Giants.
Some owners might worry about the fact the Falcons have clinched the division as a reason they might dial this one in. Don’t worry about it. However, it may mean even more rushing attempts for Michael Turner, who has absolutely trounced Detroit in his three career meetings against them. His last game at Ford Field was last year where he turned 27 carries into 122 yards. His meeting prior to that he went 20 carries for 220 yards. This is a prime matchup for Turner on the road, and anything less than 125 yards would be an unexpected disappointment. The Falcons also have protected Matt Ryan well to the tune of 25 sacks, ranking him higher than 21 other quarterbacks. With Ryan’s downfield weaponry and the loss of DT Nick Fairley for Detroit, expect that Atlanta’s passing game will heat things up should the running attack falter. Wide receiver Roddy White factored little against New York, and there is reason to be concerned here. Detroit has done a great job despite their losing streak shutting down their opposing WR1. In fact, the last WRs to score against the Lions were Randall Cobb and Donnie Avery (twice), so Julio Jones’ speed could easily play well here. And since only seven teams allow more points to opposing TEs as well, so you can expect Tony Gonzalez to be a red zone target as well.
|Turner owns a career 6.85 ypc vs. Detroit|
Atlanta wants the home field advantage, and with Michael Turner laying the framework for owning the clock, the Falcons will put Detroit again in the unenviable position of playing from behind. Stafford doesn’t have enough healthy players left in his offense, and Atlanta will seal the deal this weekend.