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Falcons, Lions Clash In London

The Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions lock horns Sunday in the second of this season’s triad of NFL International Series games in the United Kingdom, and fans can enjoy the NFC clash with breakfast.

Kickoff at Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local time, making it the league’s earliest ever game.

The showdown – highly anticipated by UK fans ahead of the season – will see the Falcons looking to somehow stay in contention, while the Lions will be looking to grab a head start on their division rivals this weekend.

Can Matt Ryan and the Falcons turn their season around in London?

Can Matt Ryan and the Falcons turn their season around in London?

The Story So Far

After a miserable 4-12 campaign a year ago, Atlanta (2-5, 2-1 home) entered this season with plenty of hope and optimism.

That optimism was flying high after a Week 1 overtime victory over division rivals the New Orleans Saints. A week later the Falcons were undone by the Cincinnati Bengals but, playing on a short week, optimism was restored with a 56-14 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.

Sadly for fans in the south, that’s where the good news portion of the Falcons’ season came to an end.

Mike Smith’s team enters Sunday’s game on the back of four straight losses, all losses that came by 10-plus points. Last weekend’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens saw the Falcons score a paltry seven points, seven points that took 52 minutes to score.

Atlanta will now hope that a (drastic) change of scenery will be enough to turn the team’s fortunes around as the Falcons become the ninth NFL franchise to ‘host’ a regular season game in London.

Detroit (5-2, 2-1 road) has had no such problems during the early part of the season, and will enter Sunday’s game with confidence.

The Lions have picked up quality wins over the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, while last weekend’s success against the New Orleans Saints has the team in the right mindset heading forward.

The Lions’ biggest loss of the season came in Week 2 against Atlanta’s NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers, before the team lost a close one to the Buffalo Bills. Despite some struggles on offense, the team has managed to get by though thanks in a major part to its defense.

The Lions will enter Wembley Stadium as the road team, an attribute that has paid off for six teams playing in London.

NFL International Series

Sunday’s clash between the Falcons and Lions marks the 10th game to be played at Wembley Stadium under the NFL International Series banner.

The series, which began in 2007, has generally seen mismatched teams go head-to-head, which was part of the reason this game was highly anticipated heading into the season. Atlanta’s woes could turn this into just another number cruncher though.

With both teams carrying a fairly small UK fan base, the atmosphere at the stadium could be lacking, although games in recent years have begun to get livelier. Providing both teams have their body clocks adjusted, there should be an opportunity to play a tight game of football.

Here are some NFL International Series trends to consider.

  • The designated home team is 3-6 in NFL games played at Wembley Stadium
  • The favorite is 7-2 in International Series games
  • The favorite is 6-3-0 ATS in International Series games
  • The total has gone over in five International Series games
  • The total has gone under in four International Series games


Detroit leads the all-time head-to-head series 23-12 and is 8-6 when playing as the road side.

Atlanta has gotten the better of recent matchups though, winning three straight and four of the last five.

The Lions haven’t beaten Atlanta since November 5, 2006. They haven’t beaten the Falcons on the road since October 10, 2004, although in the interest of fairness that 10-year span encompasses just one road game.

Injury Report

Eight Detroit Lions appear as ‘questionable’ on this week’s injury report, including running back Reggie Bush (ankle), tight end Joseph Faurier (ankle) and wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle).

Johnson missed last week’s win over New Orleans but has been on the practice field in London this week.

Newly signed Kellen Davis could take over tight end duties.

For Atlanta, defensive end Jonathan Babineaux (foot) and wide receiver Harry Douglas (foot) are listed as questionable.

Undrafted rookie center James Stone will start in place of Peter Konz, currently on the IR with a knee injury.

Check out the full injury list

After missing last weekend's game, Calvin Johnson is listed as questionable head of this one.

After missing last weekend’s game, Calvin Johnson is listed as questionable head of this one.

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons odds for 10/26/2014

Moneyline: Detroit (-193) opened as the favorite over Atlanta (+173) on the moneyline, marking the ninth time in 10 games that the designated home team has been an underdog in London.

The Falcons have gotten the better of the head-to-head series in recent years, but the 2014 team isn’t about to fill any bettor with confidence.

Only two underdogs (the Saints in 2008 and the Minnesota Vikings last season) have emerged victorious from Wembley Stadium.

Spread: The spread opened at 3 in favor of the Lions.

Detroit (4-3-0 ATS) has fared moderately against the spread, while Atlanta (2-5-0 ATS) has struggled.

Each of the last four Falcon games have seen the team fail to cover the spread, although Detroit is just 1-2-0 ATS in its last three.

Atlanta is 4-1-0 ATS in its last five games against Detroit, four of which were played away from the Georgia Dome.

The designated home team is 4-5-0 ATS when playing at Wembley Stadium.

Total: The total opened at 47 and has dropped slightly ahead of kickoff.

Both Atlanta (3-4-0 O/U) and Detroit (2-5-0 O/U) have favored the under this season.

The total has gone under in five of the last six head-to-head meetings.

The over has paid out in each of the last four games played at Wembley Stadium.


For an up-to-date list of Week 8 NFL odds, click here.

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