Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 12/26/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Thursday, Dec 23, 2021
Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Falcons -5.5
BetMGM: Falcons -6
Caesars: Falcons -5.5

Season record
Lions: 2-11-1 (Last place, NFC North
Falcons: 6-8 (3rd place, NFC South)

Matt Fargo is on a perfect 5-0 run, and best believe that he’ll look to continue that with a big Week 16. Catch Matt’s plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Lions - Falcons preview and analysis

Last week
Lions: won 30-12 vs. Cardinals
Falcons: lost 31-13 at 49ers

The Detroit Lions may not be completely dead after all. They’ve gone from winless realm to now the owner of two wins and a tie, with a realistic chance for a third.

The Lions hit the road with the season coming to an end, as they’ll take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

In what was a weird week of football, the Lions were the leaders of the pack. Detroit defeated the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals 30-12 while holding Kyler Murray to 23 of 41 passing for 257 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran only four times for three yards.

"We played aggressively against him and we hit him, and I think you saw the result of that," coach Dan Campbell said. "We needed to hit him and bottle him up, and AG put together a great game plan."

Jared Goff had arguably his best game as the quarterback of the Lions, completing all but five passes (21 of 26) for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Amon-Ra St. Brown caught eight passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, while Josh Reynolds caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Even Craig Reynolds, filling in for the injured D’Andre Swift, ran for 112 yards on 26 carries.

"You know the game we've talked about playing all season? This was that game," Goff said. "This is what we knew we could do."

Now the Lions can try and do it again against a Falcons team that is somehow somewhat close to .500 football right now. There are teams you completely forget about one day and realize they somehow have six wins. That’s where the Falcons lie at this point.

Atlanta is coming off a 31-13 loss to the red-hot San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons were held to just 275 total yards because of the stingy San Francisco defense. Matt Ryan accounted for 236 of those yards through the air and a touchdown. Mike Evans led Atlanta with just 21 rushing yards, once again showing there is no balance to what the Falcons are doing.

"We've got to be better," Ryan said. "In short-yardage situations, where you just need a yard, we've got to find a way to really convert those at a high level. Good football teams do that. And we weren't good enough at that today."


The Falcons are so hit-and-miss, that even facing a team like the Lions doesn’t make it feel safe. It seems Detroit has found the rhythm under Campbell, and I like them to pull off the upset. Lions by 10

Betting trends

The Lions are 19-40 ATS in their last 59 following a stretch of covering four or five out of their last six.

The Lions are 5-1 ATS in the second half of this season.

The Falcons are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 home games.

Players to watch

Lions: Linebacker Charles Harris, who leads the team with 7.5 sacks, had a career-high 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks last week against the Cardinals.

Falcons: Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts became the fifth rookie of that position  to cross 800 receiving yards in his first year last week. He’s two receptions from becoming the fourth rookie tight end ever with 60 receptions.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Jared Goff – 3,007 yards, 17 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: D’Andre Swift – 555 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Amon-Ra St. Brown – 601 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Charles Harris – 7.5 sacks

Passing: Matt Ryan – 3,340 yards, 18 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Cordarrelle Patterson – 565 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Kyle Pitts – 847 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Dante Fowler – 4.5 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Detroit Lions - Atlanta Falcons prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2024 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.