WEEK THREE: @ DETROIT LIONS (1PM, FOX)
Ah, the first "road" game of the season. Sometimes, players circle the first of these because it's the first chance their team gets at playing "spoiler" for the home fans. For Atlanta, that first opportunity comes at the expense of the "new" Detroit Lions, who arguably have justified hype for the first time since Barry Sanders was being accused of covering his body in silicone to avoid being tackled.
Honestly, the Lions have a good young team at their core. Yes, Jared Goff is a mid-tier quarterback, but that's just one cog of the system in the "Motor City". Keep in mind, the Lions drafted the other top-tier running back in last year's draft, Jahmyr Gibbs, while Atlanta went with Bijan Robinson. It's possible that both of these young men go off on the respective opposing defense.
Furthermore, on the Lions' offense, offensive tackle Penei Sewell is gradually becoming that dominating force on the line, but their top two receiving threats in Amon-Ra St. Brown and Marvin Jones, lost a huge playmaker in TJ Hockenson, so Atlanta's cornerbacks (notably, Jeff Okudah returning to where he was drafted) will have favorable matchups througout the contest.
Speaking of defense, at times last year, Detroit's defense was just as bad, if not worse, than Atlanta's. While statistically, the numbers showed Detroit as the worst in the league, let's keep in mind they still finished with more sacks than Atlanta. And Aidan Hutchinson's still an animal for his hometown Lions, while Chauncey Gardner-Johnson decided to leave the NFC champion Eagles for Detroit. Also, the Lions did draft Alabama safety Brian Branch in the second round, and he gives Keanu Neal vibes as that "thumper" in the secondary.
Remember how I mentioned in the last slide that lightning can strike twice? Yeah, don't count on Detroit losing to us at home because they catch a touchdown on the last play of regulation, but a replay review shows that the ball didn't break the plane and a 10 second runoff had to be enforced, giving us a miraculous victory. Detroit wins here, making the next game in the series a proverbial "Game 7" of sorts.
PREDICTION: DETROIT 27, ATLANTA 20