FLOWERY BRANCH — Here are three matchups to watch when the Falcons (2-0) face the Lions (1-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit:
Falcons LB Kaden Elliss vs. Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs: Elliss leads the Falcons in tackles with 15. He could get a boost with the return of linebacker Troy Andersen. Gibbs may have to carry more of the load with David Montgomery slowed by a thigh injury. Gibbs, who is 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, has rushed 14 times for 59 yards and caught nine of 11 targets for 57 yards for the Lions. He’s from Dalton and played at Georgia Tech before transferring to Alabama.
Falcons DT David Onyemata vs. Lions C Frank Ragnow: Ragnow, the two-time Pro Bowl center, will face defensive tackles Onyemata and Grady Jarrett. Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai started at left guard and right guard against Seattle for the Lions. “They’ve got one of the better centers in the league in Ragnow,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Tougher than hell. Got a lot of respect for him. The whole line, they play hard. (Lions offensive line coach) Hank Fraley does a great job coaching them.”
Falcons SS Richie Grant vs. Lions TE Sam LaPorta: LaPorta, who’s 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds, is a rookie from Iowa. The second-round pick (34th overall) has 10 catches for 102 yards. Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, a former Falcon, had five catches and a touchdown against the Falcons in the season opener. Green Bay rookie tight end Luke Musgrave caught two passes for 25 yards.
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