After a great result for the Falcons last weekend, the Falcons attention now turns to the Lions this Sunday.
The Lions are slightly reeling after the emotional loss to the 49ers and the melee that ensued after “Handshake gate”. This is the type of distraction that unsettles a team and could affect their performance on sunday.
On Offense for the Lions, they run a pass heavy scheme, which revolves around Quarterback Matthew Stafford and stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has had a ridiculous start to the season. This passing connection will be one the Lions will look to exploit a lot against the Falcons, as the Falcons do not have a corner on Defense that can really contend with the height of Calvin Johnson. Falcons CB Brent Grimes is playing great right now, but lining him up against Calvin Johnson will be tough, as Johnson is 7 inches taller than Grimes and he is just as athletic as Grimes. To get around this the Falcons will likely have to play a lot of zone coverage and when in man double team him the whole game.
Follow the jump to find out more about the Detroit Lions..
The Lions passing attack also features WR Nate Burleson, WR Titus Young and TE Brandon Pettigrew. All of these are solid targets and the Falcons will need to have all of their depth at secondary healthy to compete with the Lions aerial attack.
The Running game is not quite as strong but is still a threat. With Mikel Leshoure out for the year, the burden is left on 1st round pick from 2010 Jahvid Best. There has been some talk that Best could be suffering with another concussion and could miss some time. If Best is absent that makes the Lions, very one dimensional on Offense and puts a lot of pressure on Matthew Stafford. It also takes away a part of the playbook, the Lions like to use Best on draws and like to get him out of the backfield as a receiver. Those aspects will struggle to be used with a collection of average backs behind Best on the depth chart.
Defensively, it all starts with the Defensive line. Lead by Ndamukong Suh, the Lions have one of the best pass units in the league. The unit also features strong Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and Defensive Tackles Nick Fairley and Corey Williams. The one player that stands out from the group is DE Cliff Avril, who usually lines up at LDE. He has very good first step quickness and will cause Tyson Clabo a lot of problems, with his speed off the line.
The D-Line sets the tone for the rest of the Defense. The linebacking core is average and has the benefit of rarely being blocked by O-Lineman, due to them being already occupied with the D-Line.
In the secondary, there are a few playmakers for the Falcons to worry about. Firstly Louis Delmas at FS who has good range and could be a danger when the Falcons target his area of the field. Two starting corners Eric Wright and Chris Houston (A familiar face to Falcons fans) have some ability but again rarely have to hold their man down for that long, due to the strong pass rush.
The key for the Falcons is to limit the Lions pass rush. That probably will involve bringing in TE Reggie Kelly as an extra O-Lineman for most of the game, to allow for a few double teams. If the Falcons improved O-Line can stifle the Lions pass rush, Matt Ryan and crew, should have a good time against a relatively average secondary.