Detroit Lions (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 26, 9:30AM EST
Where: Wembley Stadium – London, England
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:DET -3.5/ATL +3.5
Over/Under Total: 47
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This Sunday, grab some eggs, waffles, pancakes, or whatever your favorite breakfast food is, and tune into the NFC match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions. This game is one of the many reasons I am not a fan of Roger Goodell. The NFL has no business playing games in London. These teams have fans who are season ticket holders and they are wasting games in a market that does not matter to us. Okay, I do not want to get on my soap box, but I hate the fact the NFL is playing games that are some teams “home” games over seas.
This contest between the Lions and Falcons will be a tough one to predict. We have no idea how these teams will travel. Playing in England is nothing like playing in Texas or California. The jet lag and time change could make a huge difference in this game. The line however, opens with the Detroit Lions as a 3.5 point favorite over the Falcons, and the total points are set at 47 total points. The Falcons are only 2-5 against the spread, while the Lions are 4-3. Since 2002, the Falcons have won five of seven games against the Lions, and besides that, they have managed to win the last three. Again, this game will be tough to pick based on the travel and time of the game, but we will do our best to make the right choice.
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For the second year in a row, the Atlanta Falcons are a huge disappointment. Every game they lose, it seems more and more like they will have an entirely new staff next season. That does not just mean coaches, that means GM, coach, everyone. Last year, Atlanta knew they had issues on the offensive line and defense. Not only have they not improved in these areas, but they have statistically got worse. The Falcons defense are bad againt both the pass and the run. They are ranked 27th against the run, allowing nearly 140 yards a game, while they are ranked even worse against the pass, giving up 275 yards a game. Not only has the Falcons defense let them down, their offense as of late has not helped either. Even though Matt Ryan is still one of the top QBs int he NFL in passing yards, he has also been sacked nearly as much as anyone too. If Atlanta plans on winning this game, they must do three things: get better on defense, get better on offense, and show some heart. These guys have all but given up it seems, and this is what may cost coach Mike Smith his job. It is one thing to lose, but the Falcons have not even been competitive in nearly a month now. This must change…NOW.
The Detroit Lions have been a roller coaster for a few years now. What appears to be a very talented team, has sort of underachieved for some time. This season however, it seems like they may have put it all together. The Detroit offense and defense are finally clicking and as we speak, the Lions are sitting at 5-2 overall and are in first place in the NFC North division. Led by Matthew Stafford, the Lions offense is averaging just about 250 yards a game, while the run game somewhat suffers gaining just 82 yards a game. The Detroit success this season can be attributed to the fact that they are playing some good defense. The Lions run defense is ranked 2nd in the NFL, while their pass defense ranks 7th in the league. Leading wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, is still questionable, and many people say he will probably be listed as doubtful in the next few days. Without Johnson, this will be a huge blow to the Lions offense, but I still like them head to head against this Falcons defense. If the Lions plan to get their 6th win of the season, and hold on to that first place standing in the north, they just need to play sound defense. The Falcons will give up points, no question, if Detroit’s D Line can pressure Matt Ryan, this could be an easy win for the Lions…a really easy win.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: These England games are usually tough to pick, because you do not know how teams travel. My rule of thumb is just treat it like a regular game. The Falcons have burned me a few times this season, and I am finally done with them. I will fade the Atlanta Falcons until they prove they care enough to win. I think Detroit wins a boring, low scoring, sloppy game. The Lions will beat the Falcons 23-10. PICK THE DETROIT LIONS -3.5