The Atlanta Falcons enter Week 16 in need of a win to remain in the playoff race. At 6-8, the Falcons are outside of the current playoff picture and likely need to win the rest of their games to have a shot at postseason football.
According to the latest NFL odds, the Falcons (-5.5) are favored this week as they host the Detroit Lions. The Atlanta offense, which is ranked 26th in scoring offense and averaging 18.4 points per game, has struggled this year.
Can the Falcons put up points against Detroit? Here are some things to consider.
- Date: Sunday, Dec. 26th
- Time: 1:00 P.M. on FOX
- Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA
- Participants: Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta’s Skill Position Players
Though it ranks near the bottom of the league in most categories, it would be a mistake to sleep on this Atlanta offense. Matt Ryan has several dangerous skill position players who can give Detroit problems.
Rookie Kyle Pitts has put forth an impressive debut season, logging 847 receiving yards from 58 recpetions. He has been among Ryan’s favorite targets.
Another standout is fourth-year receiver Russell Gage, who has played excellent football in the past month. Gage has 29 receptions, 347 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the last four games.
Meanwhile, veteran running back Cordarrelle Patterson is having a career season. Patterson has 565 rushing and 524 receiving yards, both of which are career bests. He also has ten total touchdowns.
Look for all three players to be heavily featured on Sunday.
Another key to Atlanta’s offensive outlook this week is their opposition. Detroit has played solid football over the past few weeks, winning two of its last three games. With that said, they still have the 26th-ranked scoring defense on the season, allowing more than 26 points per game.
Protecting Ryan and giving him a clean pocket is crucial to the Atlanta offense. They should be able to provide him with ample time against a Lions front that averages just 1.6 sacks per game.
With Jared Goff probably missing this week thanks to the Covid-19 protocol, the Detroit offense may struggle to sustain long drives that keep Ryan and the Falcons’ offense on the sidelines. The more opportunities Atlanta gets against the 25th-ranked pass defense (247.5 yards per game), the better they will likely fare.
Bottom 10 Defenses
Atlanta has played three other teams with scoring defenses in the bottom ten of the league: The Washington Football Team, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars. In those games, the Falcons are 2-1 straight up while averaging 26 points per game. That’s more than a touchdown higher than their overall season average.
In games against bottom-10 defenses, Ryan has thrown seven touchdowns to one interception and averaged more than 270 passing yards. The Falcons’ offense is more than capable of scoring points against below-average defenses like Detroit.
Are the Atlanta Falcons a Good Pick for King of the Weekend?
There will be a lot to watch for in this game. Atlanta needs a win to stay in the playoff hunt, while Detroit looks to continue its positive momentum.
Despite what the numbers suggest, the Atlanta Falcons have a capable offense and several dangerous weapons. They should have some match-ups to exploit when they take on a below-average Lions defense in Week 16.
Consider the Atlanta Falcons as an option for BetMGM’s King of the Weekend promo. Pick the six teams that you think will score the most points this week, and you could win up to $50,000.