Dec 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) is congratulated Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) after the game at Ford Field. Falcons won 31-18. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions 2014 Opponent Preview: Atlanta Falcons

It’s officially a home game for the Atlanta Falcons, but the Detroit Lions will have to travel all the way to London to meet the Falcons in week eight.

To get a feel for the Falcons side of preparations for the 2014 season, I got together with Mike Gibbons of Blogging Dirty for a quick Q&A. Here are my questions followed by his answers.

1. How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?

The biggest thing the Falcons did was drafting Jake Matthews in the first round. The Falcons need to get Matt Ryan protection and give Steven Jackson some running room, and hopefully Matthews is the foundation upon which they can build.

2. Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2014 and why?

Jake Matthews. See the answer to No. 1; it’s a huge key for the upcoming season.

3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?

Can the Falcons put pressure on an opposing QB, and can they protect their own?

4. What are your expectations for the team in 2014?

I predict the Falcons will be a borderline playoff team. Last year was an aberration, and there is too much talent to repeat a 4-12 campaign. But they have a tough slog in a tough division, so they need the ball to bounce in their favor a few times.

5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?

The Falcons-Lions game is a toss-up game. As I said in a previous piece, the Falcons season hinges on the last two games of the season, assuming the four toss-up games go 50-50. I have a feeling that the game against the Lions will be critical to both team’s seasons.

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