3 Keys to Victory for Lions against Falcons

Read more on the three keys to victory for the Lions Sunday against the Falcons
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The Lions are coming off their best game of the season -- a 34-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars -- and hope to carry some momentum into their Week 7 tilt with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. 

Although the Falcons are just 1-5, they possess an offense that is capable of being prolific when everything is going right. 

In fact, they're averaging 27 points per contest -- good for 13th-best in the NFL through six weeks.

Without further ado, here are the three keys to victory for Detroit on Sunday in Atlanta. 

Limit the production of Matt Ryan 

There's no doubt that Matthew Stafford's buddy will be hard to stop, with all the weapons that Ryan has to throw to -- most notably Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. 

And to top it off, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2016 NFL MVP is coming off his best game of the season. 

He completed 75 percent of his passes (30-of-40 passing), and threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns en route to recording a season-best passer rating of 136.6 in the Falcons' Week 6 victory against the Minnesota Vikings.

If the Lions allow him to have as much success through the air Sunday in Atlanta, they likely will suffer the same fate as their divisional rivals from Minnesota. 

Detroit's secondary will have to limit the 13th-year pro to under 300 yards in order to secure the Week 7 win. 


Keep up the ground game success 

The passing game should be easy to establish against a Falcons defense that comes into the matchup ranking 31st in both passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed (2,012 yards and 18 TDs, respectively). 

However, it'll likely be another story with running the football against Atlanta. 

The Falcons have allowed just 583 yards on the ground through six games -- fifth-best in the NFL. 

They have also permitted the 11th-fewest rushing TDs (five). 

Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift already had an uphill battle trying to repeat his career day from a week ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars (14 rushes for 116 yards and two scores).

And taking into consideration how good Atlanta is against the run, it makes it even more unlikely that Swift is able to come close to replicating his Week 6 performance.

However, I think all Detroit fans will agree with me that Swift still needs to be featured heavily on the ground when Sunday rolls around.

It's essential to get him and the rest of the Lions' running game going on a weekly basis. 

And specifically going into this weekend, doing just that should only make it easier for Stafford to exploit a weak Atlanta secondary. 

Contain the Falcons' ground game

Detroit stymied Jacksonville lead back James Robinson last Sunday, limiting the undrafted rookie to a measly 29 yards on 12 carries.

The Jaguars rushed for just 44 yards as a team, marking a huge turnaround for a Lions defense that through the first four weeks of the season had allowed the most rushing yards in the league.

Key to continuing that high level of play for Detroit's rush defense will be veteran linebacker Jamie Collins.

He was responsible for seven total tackles a week ago, and earned an impressive 89.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. 

He'll have his eyes on 26-year-old Todd Gurley throughout this upcoming Sunday's contest.

Gurley, Atlanta's No. 1 back, has accounted for 422 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season. 

He's not as explosive as he was during his heyday with the Los Angeles Rams.

But, he's still very capable of pulling off a couple big runs a game. 

If Collins & Co. can keep Gurley contained, it should bode well for the Lions' chances.

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Trey Flowers and Jamie Collins Earn PFF Team of the Week Honors

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