NFL Week 7 Picks: Game Of The Week Falcons at Lions

So we’re back for the second installment of  Inside The Knox Score, where we breakdown each game on the NFL docket. For all of these games we cover key matchups on both sides of the ball as well as predict fantasy numbers, pick straight up winners , over/under predictions and the winner when taking the spread into consideration. Last week I crushed the predictions here at The Daily Beans going a whopping 10-1 picking straight-up winners, an astounding 9-2 against the numbers as well as an impressive 7-4 on the over/unders. In a nutshell, if you had put $100 beans on each game and the totals you would have gone a total of 16-6 and won $940 beans total. 

This is the Game of the Week folks!!! The Lions will take their impressive 5-1 record and try to rebound against the inconsistent Falcons this week at home. Atlanta sits at 3-3 and can get back in the thick of things in the NFC with a big win in this game. With the Patriots, Bills, Bengals, 49ers Giants and Eagles all on byes this week there are really only a few games that should get NFL fans revved up and this is the main one. The line opened at -4.5 for the Lions at home and moved down a point to -3.5. That is pretty big movement considering the Lions season thus far and the public is close to 50-50 on this game. The over/under has also paced down from 48.5 points to 47 points in this game. A sign that pundits think the Falcons will be successful duplicating San Fran’ s game-plan of last week.

Trends

Atlanta is 13-6 in their last 19 road games as underdogs and 6-1 in their last 7 road games vs teams with a winning record. Detroit is 5-1-1 in their last 7 games as favorites and an impressive 13-3-1 in their last 17 vs the NFC. The over seems to be the hot trend in this game as Atlanta has gone over in 6 of their last 8 road games and is 11-5-2 in their last 18 overall. Detroit’s has gone 13-5-1 in their last 19 games overall. The over/under will be decided by time of possession in this game. If Atlanat can’t establish the run, the over is a cinch here.

Falcons Offense vs Lions Defense

The Falcons finally went back to their bread and butter last week handing the ball off to Michael Turner 27 times and he responded with 139 yds and 2 TDS. The Lions defense has struggled this season against the run. Last week Fran Gore and the Niners torched them for 203 yards. Expect Turner to get 25 attempts again this week. The Lions do have a stout defense against the passing game but the aggressiveness of Suh, Vanden Bosch and company may have to stack the box and lay-off the rush with Atlanta running the ball a lot. I would expect a play-action pass to be open early due to this and with injuries mounting in the Lions secondary this may be key. The receiving core of the Falcons is a bit banged up as well with Jones still nursing a hamstring injury  and Roddy White playing with a banged up knee. This should lead to an offensive scheme designed to control the clock with short passes to tight-end Tony Gonzalez and hand-offs to Turner being plentiful. Jason Snelling may even see the ball more in an attempt to keep Stafford and Megatron off the field this week.  The injuries to the Falcons receivers should be off-set by the injuries to both starting DB’s for the Lions. Chris Houston and Eric Wright are both nursing some pain but will play this week. Again with the 4-3 base defense the Lions employ Tony Gonzalez should see some room with the box stacked up for Turner all day.

Lions Offense vs Falcons Defense

As mentioned in the above breakdown, the Falcons best defense will be trying to keep the Lions pass attack off the field. Stopping Calvin Johnson may just be the hardest task in football and the Falcons pass defense has been porous at best.They allow a whopping 282.8 yds/gm and if they can’t get some extended drives with their running game, expect the Lions to throw outside with lobs in the red-zone to the taller, stronger Johnson.  The cornerbacks of the Falcons, Brett Grimes and Dunta Robinson are both under 6-feet tall and way less than 190 lbs apiece. With Johnson’s well-documented height and strength I can’t see either of these DBs having a chance against Megatron or Nate Burleson. The Falcons may be able to play in the Nickel more with the athletic Javhid Best injured for the Lions and this should help out a bit. Another major problem plaguing the Falcons pass-defense this season has been a serious lack of pressure on the quarterback., They’ve registered a mere 10 sacks in 6 games thus far and although they were able to force Cam Newton into three picks last week, they will be facing a far superior passing offense in this game away from home.

Fantasy & Game Predictions

This game outcome will be greatly dependent on the clock-eating and rushing abilities of the Falcons offense and the rush defense of the Lions. If Atlanta can’t sustain their drives and let Stafford get on the field often, the Falcons will be in trouble. Expect the Lions to go to bat hard for their much-scrutinized coach this week. I do see Michael Turner getting his 115 yards in this game and scoring a TD with Tony Gonzalez adding some much-needed catches. Ryan has been averaging only 7.2 yards per pass and that will actually help this team move the chains this week. Ryan should be good for about 210 yards and a TD, but must watch out for that D-Line of Detroit. Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams will be asked to step in for the injured Best, but won’t be doing much. If they are asked to run the ball too often this plays into the hands of the Falcons game-plan. Atlanta doesn’t get enough pressure  on the QB and Detroit may be able to get both of their receivers Johnson and Burleson near the 100 yard barrier. I see Johnson getting 105 and Burleson adding 85-90. Stafford will throw 2 TDs.

Pick: Detroit wins the game 27-24, but the Falcons cover the spread and the game goes over the total of 47.0 points

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