5 Detroit Lions who must be at the top of their game in Week 3 vs. Atlanta Falcons

If the Detroit Lions are going to get back on track with a win over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, these five players will have to be at their best.
/ Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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5. DT Alim McNeill

McNeill has been practically invisible through two games, with just two total tackles and no impact as a pass rusher. Even slimmed down as he is now, there's a case he's playing a few too many snaps as the Lions have had nose tackles Isaiah Buggs and Brodric Martin inactive for both games.

The Falcons have arguably the NFL's best guard (he is the highest-paid) in right guard Chris Lindstrom, with center Drew Dalman performing well so far and second-round rookie Matthew Bergeron at left guard.

Beating a solid Falcons' interior offensive line won't be easy. But McNeill can not continue to be invisible. The Lions' effort to stop Bijan Robinson (and Tyler Allgeier) starts with a better performance from someone who was expected to have a breakout campaign this year.

4. LG Jonah Jackson

I'll let Hamza Baccouche of Pride of Detroit start in on Jackson, via his Week 2 stock report.

"Jackson struggled in Week 1 in what looked like an anomaly, but unfortunately Week 2 was a lot of the same. He’s continuing to find himself out of position. That’s not good considering a single missed assignment from an offensive lineman can completely blow up a play—and it did Sunday."

Jackson's performance is not befitting of someone who is in line for a nice contract extension. It's hard to suggest the pressure of earning said deal is impacting his performance, but shy of a hidden and unreported injury there's not a lot more that can explain his early drop-off.

The Falcons will bring a formidable defensive line trio to Ford Field on Sunday, in Grady Jarrett, Calais Campbell and David Onyemata. Frank Ragnow will see a lot of Jarrett. But Onyemata posted the second best overall Pro Football Focus grade among interior defensive lineman through Week 2 (91.5), and 28.9 percent pass rush win rate is also second in his position group. And Campbell remains a good player at age-37.

Jackson has to start getting his...stuff together, and perform like a Pro Bowler. Sunday against the Falcons is a good time to start figuring it out.