Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (12/26/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (12/26/21)

Week 15 of the NFL regular season was full of tight matches, upsets, and excitement. The Detroit Lions took their second win of the season against the NFC West leaders, the Arizona Cardinals. They destroyed the Arizona team with great play calls and impressive performances from the whole team. Entering Week 16, the Lions feel the hope and drive they have been missing throughout the season. They’ll be flying to Atlanta to meet with the Falcons, who are recovering from a substantial loss from the San Francisco 49ers. The two teams will face off on Sunday, December 26th at 1:00 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Both teams have struggled throughout the season, but the Falcons still have a chance at the playoffs, so this game is everything for the team if they want to continue into the postseason.

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds

The Detroit Lions challenged every betting odds in the book after their win against the Cardinals. They’re unfavored against the Falcons again this week, but their fire and morale may be able to pull out another upset victory. The spread is placed at -5.5 (-110) for the Atlanta Falcons and +5.5 (-110) for the Detroit Lions. The moneyline is placed at -250 for the Falcons and +200 for the Lions. The over/under is set at 42.5 points. If you bet on the Lions and can pull off a win, there is an ample opportunity for a large payout. 

Detroit is currently 8-5 against the spread, with large point sums being scored by both teams. Even though the team only has two wins this season, they have had several close games against big teams. The team’s defense struggles to keep opponents away from the endzone and leaves them in deficits that are difficult to recover from. The Falcons are 6-7 against the spread and also have large game sums weekly. The over seems like a fair bet, especially since the Falcons need to play aggressively in order to keep the sliver of playoff chances alive. The Lions are missing quarterback Jared Goff this week, so it may prohibit the team from scoring on big plays. However, the rush game may be able to carry their weight for the Lions’ offense.

My Prediction: Falcons Win 28-23, over 42.5

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/26/21
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, GA
TV Coverage: NFL NET / FOX

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Live Stream

Where can you watch Lions vs. Falcons online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Lions vs. Falcons Free Online Now.

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Detroit Lions Analysis

The Detroit Lions pulled off the greatest upset of the 2021 NFL season so far. Their victory over the NFC front runners stunned the nation and thrilled Lions fans. Both of their wins this season come from home games as they remain 0-6 on the road. They are seeking to turn their win into a winning streak as they fly to Atlanta. 

The Lions quarterback, Jared Goff, has had impressive stats given the significant losing record of the team. He has 3,007 yards so far this season with 17 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. After the successful game against the Cardinals, Goff tested positive for COVID-19 and will be ineligible to play in Week 16. The backup QB, Tim Boyle, will take his place against the Falcons. Boyle has only played one game this season against the Cleveland Browns in November. Boyle was only able to throw for 77 yards against Cleveland and threw two interceptions. He will need to drastically improve his accuracy in order to have a chance against Atlanta.

D’Andre Swift is still out going into Week 16 due to a shoulder injury. Swift is rumored to return to practice this week, but a return is unlikely. Swift kept the team alive against the Browns matchup when Jared Goff was out again because of his immense rush ability. Without Swift, the Lions need to reinforce short passes and detailed play calling to help out their backup quarterback.

Last week, Craig Reynolds made his name known against the Cardinals with 112 rush yards on 26 carries. With their primary quarterback sick, the Lions will depend more on their rush game, which means Reynolds will be a huge focal point of the offense. The Falcons have a struggling rush defense which may make it easier for Reynolds to have another astonishing game.

If Detroit decides to take the ball in the air, it will probably be heading towards Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown had a jaw-dropping game last week with eight receptions for 90 yards. He has 601 yards on the season, with 249 of those yards coming from the past three games. The Falcons’ defense will put tremendous pressure on Amon-Ra, leaving small windows Boyle may struggle to hit. As long as the play calls are short, St. Brown may steal the show once again.

Detroit Lions Depth Chart

QB: Jared Goff
RB1: D’Andre Swift
RB2: Jamaal Williams
WR1: Amon-Ra St. Brown
WR2: Kalif Raymond
WR3: Josh Reynolds
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
TE2: Brock Wright

Atlanta Falcons Analysis

The Atlanta Falcons are entering this week with a 6-8 record. They only have one win at home and have found most of their success on the road. The team doesn’t seem to feed off of the home-field advantage and underperforms while playing in Atlanta. After the tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the team’s playoff chances dropped to around 27%. If the team takes another loss this week, they will shrink dramatically once again. 

Starting quarterback, Matt Ryan, is in his 13th NFL season after being the third overall pick in the 2008 draft. This season, Ryan has found himself in the middle of the pack of league quarterbacks. He has 3,340 yards, and 18 touchdown passes so far. Ryan averages 238 yards per game but has three games over 300 yards. When the game becomes close, Ryan knows how to pump up yardage to secure a win.

Ryan has looked to Kyle Pitts as his biggest target. Pitts has 847 receiving yards and is averaging 14.6 yards per reception. Pitts has the ability to take advantage of empty spaces in defensive pressure and can be an unpredictable receiver. He is a great route runner that can juke and dust many cornerbacks. Last week, Pitts has a reception long of 49 yards that remains his longest reception this season. If the opportunity is available, Pitts can run circles around the Detroit defense.

The Lions have a weak rush defense that can leave opportunities for the Falcons to use their top rusher, Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson leads the team with 565 rush yards and five touchdowns. Patterson averages 4.2 yards per carry and can pick up crucial first downs for his team. His aggressiveness can be intimidating to any defense, and if a hole is created, Patterson will take full advantage.

Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart

QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Cordarrelle Patterson 
RB2: Mike Davis
WR1: Tajae Sharpe
WR2: Russell Gage
WR3: Olamide Zaccheaus
TE1: Kyle Pitts

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Daily Fantasy Picks

In this matchup, there aren’t any star players that would be of huge benefit as the playoffs of fantasy football commence. Matt Ryan has had weak fantasy points all season with an average of 13.7 points. Even after a great game against the Cardinals, Craig Reynolds only put up 12.7 points for fantasy owners. Usually, I would say Cordarrelle Patterson is a good addition to a lineup, but after only receiving 4.3 points last week, I don’t feel confident in his ability entering Week 16. If you have made it to the playoffs, I think you have better picks elsewhere.

Maggie is a current political science major at the University of Oklahoma and wants to pursue a Masters Degree in Sports Management in her future. She has followed the NFL, MLB, and NCAA Men's Basketball all of her life. She's been very excited with NLCS appearances by the Dodgers, but is still patiently waiting and crossing her fingers for an AFC Championship from her Cleveland Browns. She even named her dogs "Dodger" and "Jackie" in support of her favorite MLB team and the legendary Jackie Robinson.

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