The Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions will kick off today at 1:00 EST on FOX in what could be a playoff preview for two wildcard hopefuls. While both teams clearly have a shot at winning their division both have tough competition and if they make the playoffs are likely to be playing on wildcard weekend.
While this matchup has been discussed from the Atlanta Falcons' perspective there is equal if not more intrigue when it comes to the Lions. How good is this Detroit team heading into week three? They beat the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs but followed that up by getting beaten by the Seahawks in overtime with the defense struggling against Geno Smith and company.
There is an argument to be made that the Lions played their best game of the season already against the Chiefs and are simply a mediocre team and not the contender many believe them to be. This can be viewed as a statement game for both sides and is important with tough matchups ahead for both teams.
The Lions will be going on the road on Thursday Night Football against Green Bay while the Falcons travel to London to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. These are two teams that should have a healthy level of urgency knowing the road ahead and how close both divisions currently are.
For Atlanta, the NFC South has been off to a shockingly hot start while the Lions are tied with Green Bay for the division lead with the Vikings still being a likely contender despite their 0-2 start.
For Atlanta, the key to this game is going to be exactly what Arthur Smith does best running the football against a struggling run defense, controlling the clock, and putting a sense of urgency on every possession for Jared Goff and an offense that has been clicking.