Lions vs. Falcons: NFL Week 16 betting odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Jeremy Jones

December 21st, 2021

The Atlanta Falcons are still clinging onto a sliver of hope of making the playoffs. However, the Detroit Lions are no walkover, and will continue to scratch and claw when they face off on Sunday.

Let's examine this NFC matchup in depth.

Sun, December 26 2021, 6:00 PM

ATL Falcons






O 42.5

DET Lions






U 42.5

No Quit in Detroit

The Lions could have given up on this season long ago. At the end of October, the Lions were sitting at 0-8 following a 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead of going into shutdown mode after their bye week, the Lions came out and went 2-3-1, including an 18-point victory over the team with the best record in the NFL.

Much like several other teams in the league this past week, the Lions have also had several key players added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including quarterback Jared Goff

If Goff is unable to meet the league requirements to suit up on Sunday, the Lions will be forced to start backup Tim Boyle. He started the 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 and went 15-for-23 for 77 yards and threw two interceptions. It would be devastating for the Lions if they're unable to take advantage of a bad Falcons pass defense.

Desperation time for Atlanta

The Falcons are still hanging onto their slim playoff chances. At 6-8, they are only one game behind the seventh seed in the NFC. However, they would lose the tiebreaker with just about all the teams still in the hunt for that seventh seed.

The good news is that the Falcons will get this game against a Lions team possibly without their starting quarterback and a final head-to-head matchup with the New Orleans Saints, who they are competing for that seventh seed with.

The Falcons rank in the bottom half of the league in just about every statistical category on both offense and defense, except for in the turnover department. They have forced a turnover in all but two games this season. Meanwhile, the Lions have turned the ball over in all but two games this season, and Boyle had turnover issues in his lone start.

Lions vs. Falcons Injury Report

Detroit LionsAtlanta Falcons
TE T.J. Hockenson: Out (thumb)
WR Calvin Ridley: Out (personal)
LB Josh Woods: Questionable (shoulder)
S Erik Harris: Out (pectoral)
G Jonah Jackson: Questionable (back)
WR Tajae Sharpe: Questionable (foot)
RB D'Andre Swift: Questionable (shoulder)
LB Alex Anzalone: Out (shoulder)
QB Jared Goff: Doubtful (Reserve/COVID-19)
OT Matt Nelson: Doubtful (Reserve/COVID-19)
WR Quintez Cephus: Doubtful (illness)

Lions and Falcons betting trends

  • The Lions are 5-1 ATS in their last six games
  • The Over is 7-2 in the last nine matchups at Atlanta
  • The Falcons are 2-4 ATS in their last six games
  • The Under is 5-1 in the Falcons’ last six games

Desperation over Heart

The Lions keep on fighting and will continue to fight through injuries and illness. However, the Falcons just need this win too much. Atlanta is still on the verge of a playoff spot and a win is desperately needed for Atlanta to stay alive.

A loss would be beneficial to Detroit in the fight for the top draft pick, but the Lions are not going to intentionally lose under head coach Dan Campbell. Nonetheless, the Lions struggled mightily in the game following their first win of the season and I expect more of the same here.

I like the Falcons to win an ugly game and keep their playoff hopes alive for another week.

Score prediction: Falcons 30, Lions 16 

NFL Week 16 picks: Falcons -5.5, Over 42.5

Lions vs. Falcons pick powered by The Quant Edge

Our predictive engine is calling for the Falcons to win outright and for the score to go Over the projected total.