Atlanta Falcons (2-5)
Schedule so far
Week 1 - vs. Saints - won, 37-34 (OT)
Week 2 - at Bengals - lost, 24-10
Week 3 - vs. Buccaneers - won, 56-14
Week 4 - at Vikings - lost, 41-28
Week 5 - at Giants - lost, 30-20
Week 6 - vs. Bears - lost, 27-13
Week 7 - at Ravens - lost, 29-7
Reason for optimism
There are many reasons to be optimistic about this game. For starters, the Falcons have lost four games in a row, and their only two wins this year have come against divisional opponents at home. The Falcons haven't even come close to winning away from home, and they actually lost by two touchdowns when the Bears came to Atlanta earlier this month.
To make matters worse for the Falcons, they are extremely banged up on their offensive line, and the matchup in the trenches heavily favors the Lions defense:
Next up for the destructive DETdefensive line? ATL. Their line has allowed joint most amount of pressure (along with SD) of any team— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 20, 2014
To put it bluntly, the Falcons are an absolute mess right now.
Reason for pessimism
Matt Ryan has put up some pretty good numbers this season, and the Lions' preparation this week is obviously going to be a bit different with the game in London. Practicing at a high level and getting over the time difference could be tough, especially with the game kicking off at 9:30 a.m. ET. The main thing for the Lions is to stay focused and remember that the point of this trip is to beat the Falcons.
Storyline to watch
There are really two main storylines for this game. The obvious one is the fact that the Lions are playing in London. This is a unique experience for the players and coaches, and it will be interesting to watch a Lions game live on a Sunday morning.
The other main storyline is that the Lions have a golden opportunity to improve to 6-2 going into their bye week. With the Green Bay Packers playing so well right now, the Lions can't afford to lose games that are so winnable, and based on what the Falcons have done as of late, this is certainly a game Detroit should win.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.