Detroit News predictions: Lions at Falcons

Detroit News

► James Hawkins: Don’t look now, but the Lions have won two of three. And don’t look past Detroit in this one. The reeling Falcons are giving up the second-most points in the league and have struggled at home. The Lions have shown tenacity and a tendency to keep things close, regardless of the venue and how many starters they’re down. Plus, it’s hard to imagine Tim Boyle could be as bad as he was in the first start. Instead, expect improved play-calling and trench control as the Lions spread some holiday cheer with another surprise. Lions, 21-20

► John Niyo: Tim Boyle should be better prepared in his second go-around as the Lions’ starter. The offensive play-calling certainly should be as well. And this is a game where Detroit is capable of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. For as bad as the Falcons have been at home this season, they’ve had pretty good success against sub-.500 teams. And despite all the positivity around the Lions after the upset of Arizona, they’re still one of those, right? Falcons, 20-17

► Justin Rogers: The Lions haven’t won on the road this season, while the Falcons haven’t won in Atlanta. The team’s lone “home” win came across the Atlantic Ocean. Barring another tie, something has got to give. With Detroit’s recent surge — winning twice in the past three weeks — I was fully prepared to pick them to emerge victorious for just the second time this season, but with Tim Boyle likely to be handling the quarterbacking duties, I can’t muster the courage. I would expect this one to be a low-scoring affair, especially if the Lions can bottle up do-everything offensive weapon Cordarrelle Patterson. Falcons, 19-16

► Bob Wojnowski: Jared Goff had his best game as a Lion in beating the Cardinals, so naturally he landed on the COVID list. Tim Boyle should show more in his second start, but that’s just a guess. The Falcons are 6-8 and don’t have much of a defense, last in the league in sacks. Matt Ryan is having a solid season at quarterback and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is quite a weapon. Dan Campbell and his staff keep coming up with useful plug-in pieces, and the offensive line is strong enough to keep the Lions in any game. Sure enough, they’ll be in this one to the final horn. Falcons, 27-24

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