W2W4: Falcons vs. Lions

The 2-5 Atlanta Falcons took optimism with them across the pond as they prepare to face the 5-2 Detroit Lions in London on Sunday morning (9:30 a.m. ET).

Here are a few things to watch for as the Falcons attempt to break a four-game losing skid:

On the line: There's no doubt the Falcons' offensive line will have its hands full going against a strong Lions defensive front, led by Ndamukong Suh. Remember, the Falcons are down five offensive linemen and have an undrafted rookie center stepping into the lineup in James Stone. Jon Asamoah and a healthier Justin Blalock (back) should be able to help Stone, but the Falcons have bigger concerns on the edges with rookie left tackle Jake Matthews struggling through an ankle injury and right tackle Gabe Carimi struggling, period. This looks like the ideal game for the Falcons to have their backs and tight ends more involved in terms of chipping if Matt Ryan is going to survive. One other thing to watch with the line is whether it wears down in the fourth quarter, like it did against the New York Giants. The international trip my take a toll on the unit -- and the team as a whole.

In a corner: The Lions' Calvin Johnson, arguably the best receiver in the game, will be a game-time decision coming off an ankle injury. If Johnson plays, it will give young Falcons corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford yet another opportunity to step up to the challenge against a big receiver. The two didn't fare too well against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey when the Chicago Bears visited the Georgia Dome, and both Marshall and Jeffery were coming off injuries. Of course, the Falcons put more pressure on their corners by not generating enough pressure up front. But Trufant and Alford continue to go through their share of growing pains, particularly Alford with his team-leading seven penalties (four declined). Even if Johnson is out of the lineup, the Falcons' defensive backs will be challenged by Golden Tate, who is second in the NFL with 343 yards after the catch.

Work of art: Devin Hester has been quiet as of late. There was so much buzz surrounding him after that breathtaking, record-breaking performance in Week 3 against Tampa Bay. He did have to fight off ankle and hamstring injuries, but Hester seems to be fully healthy now. This would be a good time for him to provide a spark with a long return, and he has two career kick-return scores against the Lions, a team he faced regularly while with the Chicago Bears. Lions coach Jim Caldwell is familiar with Hester and used the words "art form" when describing Hester's return ability. Maybe Hester will be picture perfect come Sunday.