The Detroit Lions look to rebound from their first loss of the season in a Week 3 matchup with the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 10 am EST at Ford Field.
Last week, both teams rallied from double-digit deficits in the second half. The Lions (1-1) scored 10 points in the final 3:08, including a field goal with no time remaining, only to fall in overtime to Seattle, 37-31.
The Falcons (2-0) trailed at home to Green Bay by 12 points in the fourth quarter and won on a field goal with a minute left, 25-24. The Lions suffered multiple serious injuries in the loss and will host the Falcons, missing several key players.
Lions Team News
The overtime defeat to Seattle may have looked familiar to Lions fans. Critical mistakes on offense and an ineffective defense resulting in a close loss was the team’s identity for the first half of last season.
Jared Goff was solid again but threw a pick-6 midway through the fourth quarter to give Seattle a 10-point cushion at 31-21. The Lions responded with a 75-yard TD drive on their next possession, scoring on a Goff to Josh Reynolds connection, and then tied the game on Riley Patterson’s 38-yard field goal on the game’s last play.
The Seahawks won the OT coin toss, however, and went 75 yards in nine plays, with Geno Smith’s 6-yarder to Tyler Lockett being the game-winner.
Goff’s first interception in nearly 400 pass attempts wasn’t the only costly turnover by Detroit. After halftime, David Montgomery was hit in the backfield and fumbled on the first play. Seattle recovered at the Lions 23 and scored two plays later to tie the game,14-14. Montgomery (16 carries for 67 yards and a TD) was later carted off the field with a thigh injury and is listed as questionable for this week. He has 37 of the team’s 61 rushing attempts this season.
Goff finished 28-for-35 with three TDs. Eight Lions caught a pass in the game, led by Amon-Ra St. Brown’s six receptions for 102 yards. Reynolds also had a TD catch in the first quarter, and Kalif Raymond scored on a 36-yard pass play to give Detroit a 14-7 lead at halftime. Rookies Sam LaPorta (5 catches for 63 yards) and Jahmyr Gibbs (7 for 39 yards) also played major roles in the passing attack.
More injury updates that are not good for Detroit include defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson being out for months and possibly the entire year with a torn pectoral. The Lions lack of pass rush took a hit as it was reported that James Houston would miss months with a fractured ankle. Starting guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai reportedly will miss at least this week with a knee injury.
After two games, Goff is fifth in the league in passing yards (576 yards), fifth in QBR (75.3) and third in QB Rating (109.0). He’s completing 71.4% of his passes. St. Brown’s big day puts him 10th in the league with 143 receiving yards. Overall, the Lions offense is third in the league at 393 total yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Detroit defense allows 354.5 yards and 28.5 points per game. Both defensive numbers rank in the bottom-half of the league. The Detroit defense forced only one three-and-out against the Seahawks. Alex Anzalone recorded the lone sack on the day by the Lions.
Falcons Team News
The Atlanta Falcons are one of nine 2-0 teams left in the NFL after two weeks.
Atlanta plans to run the ball and is fourth in the league with 71 rushing attempts. Eighth overall pick Bijan Robinson is second in the NFL with 180 rushing yards and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Second-year back Tyler Allgeier actually leads the team with his 31 carries and has 123 rushing yards.
Second-year QB Desmond Ridder has been efficient so far, completing 34-of-50 passes for 352 yards. Robinson also leads the team with 10 receptions. Mack Hollins, Drake London, and tight end Kyle Pitts are the other main receiving targets the Lions will have to account for.
In the comeback win, Atlanta outgained the Packers 446 to 224 in total yards, and the team’s young offensive talent was displayed. Robinson impressed with 124 yards on 19 carries and four catches for 49 yards.
Ridder opened it up a bit, going 19-of-32 for 237 yards and running the ball 10 times. London had 6 catches for 67 yards. The Falcons had 211 rushing yards and 15 rushing first downs. On defense, the Falcons are ranked third, allowing 252.5 yards per game.
Lions Falcons Prediction
The Lions are early 3.5-point home favorites with a Total Over/Under of 46. The injuries to key Detroit players are a concern. If Montgomery can’t go, the game could feature an exciting showcase of Gibbs and Robinson.
The Falcons’ two wins have come at home against inexperienced quarterbacks Bryce Young and Jordan Love. We’re not convinced Ridder can get it done on the road.
This one feels like it will be decided by the arm of Goff and the Lions’ defense’s ability to stop the run. We like the former…but worry about the latter.
Detroit 27, Atlanta 24
Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction
The Detroit Lions kick off the 2023–24 NFL regular season against the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs, in the nationally televised Thursday night spotlight no less, 5:20 EST at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO.
There is no tougher ask in professional football than taking on the defending champions at home, on Ring Night, against their worldly quarterback and mastermind head coach.
There has not been so much optimism for Detroit fans in years as the Lions look to build on their late-season surge from a year ago. If last year’s trends hold true, plenty of points should be placed on the scoreboard. The underdog Lions should also have a chance to pull off a season-opening stunner.
Keep reading for team news and our Lions vs. Chiefs betting prediction.
Detroit Lions Team News
The Lions (9-8 last year) finished the preseason 2-1 with wins against the Carolina Panthers and N.Y. Giants. The decision was made for QB1 Jared Goff to sit out the entire preseason so that he will see his first game action since last season against the Chiefs.
Last year, the Lions offense ranked 4th in Total Yards Per Game (380 ypg) and 5th in Points Per Game (26.6 ppg). Led by Goff’s 4,438 passing yards and 29 passing TDs, the team finished 8th in Passing Yards Per Game with 251.8 ypg. The Lions offense was well-balanced, finishing 11th in Rushing Yards Per Game at 128.2 per.
Gone, however, from last year’s team are Jamaal Williams (now a Saint) and his 1,000-yard season with 17 rushing touchdowns and the team’s second-leading rusher, D’Andre Swift (552 yards and 5 TDs a year ago), now a Philadelphia Eagle.
Running behind one of the league’s more underrated offensive lines this year will be Alabama rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and veteran David Montgomery, formerly of the Bears. The team’s leading receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown (1,161 yards and 6 TDs last season), is listed as questionable for the opener after suffering a preseason ankle injury.
Of course, the soft spot last year was the Detroit defense. The Lions ranked last in Yards Allowed Per Game (392.3 ypg) and third to last in Points Allowed Per Game at 25.1. The Lions overhauled the secondary, acquiring Cam Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson while drafting Brian Branch out of Alabama. Moseley’s status for the game is uncertain. The team also drafted linebacker Jack Campbell out of Iowa to fill some of those big running lanes. The combination of Aiden Hutchinson (9.5 sacks last year) and James Houston (8 sacks) hope to force the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes into a rare off night.
Kansas City Chiefs Team News
The Chiefs finished 14-3 during the regular season last year. Plus, as everyone knows, they outlasted Philadelphia to take home its second Super Bowl trophy under coach Andy Reid in the last four years.
The 2022 Kansas City offense ranked 1st in both Yards Per Game (413.6 ypg) and Points Per Game at 29.2. MVP quarterback Mahomes led the league with 5,520 passing yards and 41 TD passes.
Tight end Travis Kelce had 110 catches for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the team. After Kelce, the Chiefs’ other pass catchers are more castoffs than pro bowlers and will highlight Kadarius Toney (questionable), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Sky Moore. The Chiefs’ undervalued running attack will feature Isiah Pacheco (831 rushing yards last year) to go with Jerick McKinnon (56 receptions) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Last year, the Kansas City defense was middling statistically, allowing 21.7 points each contest. They are without All-Pro Chris Jones (holdout) and his 15.5 sacks from last year, and that could be a difference-maker in this game.
Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers Prediction
The Chiefs are 6.5-point favorites with a total O/U of 54. The Lions were 5-4 on the road last year. The Chiefs were 7-1 at home. Most signs point to a Chiefs celebration on opening night.
The less-than-a-touchdown spread is intriguing and telling. The Lions will play ball-control and keep away from Mahomes. Both teams will try to run the ball more than normal. We think the Lions will have a chance to win the game late…but won’t.
Prediction: Kansas 27, Detroit 20
Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview & Prediction
The Detroit Lions will host their second straight home game to open the NFL preseason Saturday at 1 PM EST against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Both teams won their preseason opener by five points. Both teams have big ideas for this season that include at least a divisional championship.
Detroit Lions Team News
The Lions opened their preseason with a 21-16 win over the New York Giants. Battling for a back-up quarterback spot, Nate Sudfeld threw an interception on the first play of the game and finished 15-of-28 for 194 yards and 2 INTs. Sudfeld played the entire first half and the first possession after halftime but it was rookie QB Adrian Martinez, from Kansas St. via Nebraska, who led the last drive and scored the winning TD on a 1-yard push with 1:51 remaining. The other Lions touchdown was a 95-yard punt return complete with two spins (YouTube it if you didn’t see it) from Florida International rookie Maurice Alexander.
1st round pick Jahmyr Gibbs flashed with 6 carries for 19 yards to give the home fans a little taste. Of note on the Detroit defense, Julian Okwara recorded three sacks while his older brother Romeo got one sack. Rookie Brandon Joseph of Notre Dame fame had an interception.
The biggest news heading into the Jacksonville game is really a bit of old news. Recently signed Teddy Bridgewater (still only 30 years old) is expected to play against the Jaguars as the Lions look to secure the back-up spots behind starter Jared Goff. Bridgewater started two games last season for the Miami Dolphins.
Jacksonville Jaguars Team News
The Jaguars won their preseason opener, 28-23, in Dallas over the Cowboys. Unlike the Lions who didn’t play Goff, Jacksonville’s No. 1 Trevor Lawrence did start and threw an interception on his second attempt of the game. Lawrence did lead a scoring drive with a TD toss to Christian Kirk before putting a baseball cap on over his long locks. Dak Prescott did not play for Dallas. The Jags won the game in the 4th quarter as undrafted QB Nathan Rourke from Ohio threw and ran for a touchdown.
Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction
The early line has Jacksonville as -3.5 favorites. That seems to make sense if Doug Pederson gives a series or two again to Lawrence. The Jaguar’s back-up QBs also played well in the first preseason game win. Meanwhile, Bridgewater just joined the team and might see some action. Sudfeld was a bit wild with two interceptions.
Prediction: Jacksonville 20, Detroit 13
One more thing: The teams are not scheduled to play this year unless they meet in the Super Bowl of course. The Lions are currently about +2200 to win it all. Jacksonville is around +3000.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions Prediction & Preview
The Dallas Cowboys will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday in an intriguing NFC inter-divisional matchup at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys have won the last four meetings between the two teams, including a 35-27 road win in 2019.
Keep reading to see team news and our Cowboys vs. Lions prediction.
Detroit Lions Team News
Detroit (1-4) is coming off a bye week and has lost three consecutive games. The Lions have one of the league’s highest-scoring offensive units and are ranked second with 423.6 yards a game. Seventh-year quarterback Jared Goff has completed 59.7 percent of 187 pass attempts with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. The former top overall pick has thrown multiple scoring passes in three out of five games this season.
D’Andre Swift returns to lead the NFL’s eighth-ranked rushing attack. The 23-year-old running back averaged 8.6 yards per carry over the first three weeks before missing the past two games with an assortment of injuries. Jamaal Williams has a team-high 332 yards on 77 rushes and paces the Lions’ ground game with six touchdowns.
A trio of talented pass-catchers headline a high-octane passing offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown leads the Lions with 27 receptions and three scores, while Josh Reynolds has tallied 23 catches and four touchdowns. Tight end T.J. Hockenson has caught 19 passes and found the end zone on three occasions.
The Lions will butt heads with the league’s fourth-ranked scoring defense that allows 16.3 points a game. The Cowboys have posted a league-high 24 sacks and limited opposing teams to 19 points or less in five games.
Dallas Cowboys Team News
Dallas (4-2) had its four-game winning streak snapped Sunday night with a 26-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Backup signal-caller Cooper Rush threw three picks and suffered his first career loss in six starts. Dak Prescott will be under center for the Cowboys this week after missing the last five games with an injured thumb.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have combined for 678 rushing yards and four scores. Pollard averages 5.3 yards an attempt and is a big-play threat with three touches that spanned more than 46 yards.
CeeDee Lamb is the Cowboys’ top wideout with 409 yards and two touchdowns on 33 receptions. The former first-round pick averages 10 targets per game and should benefit from the return of Prescott. Noah Brown has caught 20 passes and a score, while Pollard and Dalton Schultz have each recorded nine catches.
Dallas will face one of the NFL’s worst defensive units. The Lions rank last in points allowed (34), total yards (428), rushing yards (167), and sacks (7). Detroit has surrendered 27 points or more in every game this season.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions Prediction
The Cowboys are seven points favorites in a game with an over/under of 47.5 points. The Lions should be able to move the ball on the ground, but Goff will be tested by a dominant defensive front that has terrorized opposing quarterbacks this season. Dallas should have little trouble moving the chains against a woeful Detroit defense.
Prediction: Dallas 34, Detroit 24