Lions-Falcons preview: Receivers will test Detroit

Rod Beard
The Detroit News


Matt Ryan, QB

He's on pace for a good season but can't do everything. He'll need to have enough time to throw against the Lions defense.

Julio Jones, WR

He's one of the best and will challenge the Lions secondary with his size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and speed.

Roddy White, WR

He had his way with the Lions (eight catches, 153 yards, two TDs) the last meeting, a 31-18 Falcons victory in 2012.


Road woes

The Falcons have gotten a lot of flak for a map illustration that showed them going to Spain instead of England, but they've been bad anywhere outside Georgia Dome.

Ole, ole, ole

Both teams will have to get used to unfamiliar surroundings, but playing in Wembley Stadium with a different fan base could be a challenge.


The Falcons running game, which ranks 23rd, hasn't done much behind Steven Jackson. They'll be challenged by the Lions' No. 2 run defense.

Looking up

The Falcons rank near the bottom in rush and pass defense and will have to play one of their better defensive games to stay with the Lions.

Time off

Both teams are heading into the bye week after this game, but the Falcons have lost five of their last six and need a win to pull out of a nosedive.


Julio Jones is third in the league in receptions (49) and fourth with 676 yards and is on track to have career highs in all the major categories.

■At 3.7 yards per carry, Steven Jackson has the lowest average among Falcons players with multiple carries, including Matt Ryan, who is at 4.8.

■The Falcons defense has seven sacks, and only Jonathan Massaquoi (two) has more than one.

■The Falcons make the most of their scoring opportunities, ranking second in the league in red-zone efficiency (71.4 percent). The Lions are third in red-zone defense (44.4 percent).

■It's feast or famine for the Falcons offense. They are averaging 47 points in two victories, 16 in five losses.