Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/20/12
The Atlanta Falcons (12-2) led by Matt Ryan and his bevy of receivers travel north to play the Detroit Lions (4-10) led by Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson at Ford Field. This will be a matchup of two high-powered passing offenses with little or no running game for support. The Falcons are looking to clinch home-field throughout the playoffs with a victory against the Lions on Saturday.Their opponent on Saturday, the Lions, have one of the worst rush defenses in the league. They are giving up 119 yards per game to their opponents.The Falcons will look to exploit their weak rush defense in order to open up more passing lanes with the play-action and allow the Atlanta receiving corps of Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas to find open spaces for Matt Ryan to find them.In order for this to happen, Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers are going to have to step up yet again and run the ball with a purpose. Last week saw the Falcons rush the ball 38 times for 129 yards. Even though that is only a 3.4 ypc average, it still provided enough of a threat to open up the passing game for Matt Ryan and his cohorts. If the running game can produce against the Lions, the Falcons should have an easy time of it on offense.The Atlanta defense is coming off best performance of the season against the reigning Super Bowl champion Giants. Against the Giants, the Falcons' defense was able to intercept Eli Manning twice and hold the electrifying duo of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to six total catches for 55 yards. It was the Falcons' first shutout of an opponent since 2008 Week 9 when they beat the Oakland Raiders 24-0 in Oakland.The defense will have their work cut out for them as they are going up against Megatron, a.k.a Calvin Johnson. Johnson is leading the league in receiving with 1,667 yards. He needs less than 200 yards over the next two games to break the all-time receiving yards record set be the great Jerry Rice. Johnson has been the only real threat for the Lions this year as he has out gained his next closest teammate by over 1,000 yards.  I believe what the Falcons should do during this game is double team Johnson and force Matt Stafford to use his other receivers. If they can accomplish this, then the defense should control the game just as they did against the Giants.  And with this control, they will lead the Falcons to another victory and help them clinch home-field throughout the playoffs.Falcons win 34-16  
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