ALLEN PARK – Punters trust Lions to cover the gap again, with 60% of early action going to Detroit to keep it within six points against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16.
The Falcons (6-8) opened as favorites at 4.5 points, but Lions quarterback Jared Goff landing on the COVID roster to open the week pushed him to six points. The bettors have the total over / under at around 42.5 points. Andre Swift also returned to practice around those parts, with the running back looking to test that injured shoulder a bit, another story to watch.
Detroit (2-11-1) remains one of the league’s best ATS teams, going 9-5 in that department, behind the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in the standings. The Falcons, on the other hand? They are one of the worst ATS, going 5-8 at this point.
The Falcons are also one of the most confusing teams in the league, ranking in the bottom five in more categories than not while flirting with .500 that end. Atlanta ranks 30th in offensive DVOA and 31st on the defensive end of the ball. They allow the third-highest number of net yards per carry and the fifth-worst net yards per passing attempt while allowing 27.4 points per game, the second-worst mark in the league.
Atlanta lost 31-13 to San Francisco last week. The rushed offense was stuffed by the 49ers, with its defense unable to slow much down. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was strong when he pitched the pitch. He just hasn’t done much this year. Ryan was 19 of 32 for 236 yards and one touchdown in an 18-point loss.
Last week, the Lions beat one of the best in the NFC, handling the Arizona Cardinals 30-12 from Ford Field. Goff threw three touchdowns, winning the league’s aerial player of the week award for his efforts. Tim Boyle is expected to get his second start if the quarterback isn’t cleared by the weekend.
“… Here’s what drives us is that Tim) has been in it for four weeks now,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “He trained and he was pretty fresh back from the injury, really a week after the injury. And now he’s spent another four weeks there and he’s taking most of the scout team reps. And then he had to take a day there when Goff had the flu that day and run the offense and go with the game plan. So he put his feet back under him. He found his rhythm. He throws it well. And now he has a game under his belt. So I think it will be good and I don’t think we are going to be hampered. Sure, we’ll have a plan for him to succeed as the offensive will, but I don’t think we’re going to be hampered. I don’t feel like that.
Tim Boyle’s first start was the lowest-rated game by a Lions quarterback since 2009. He hopes it turns out better.
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