Detroit (3-11) at Atlanta (8-5)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Dec 22, 2002
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

ATLANTA (TICKER) —Even with a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons could still clinch a playoff berth on Sunday when they meet the Detroit Lions.

The Falcons need a win in this contest and a loss by the New York Giants at Indianapolis to secure their first playoff berth since 1998.

Atlanta, which has lost two straight following an eight-game unbeaten streak, closes the regular season at Cleveland, which also is in playoff contention.

Last week, the Falcons could have taken another step at garnering a playoff spot, but they suffered a 30-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks.

Electrifying quarterback Michael Vick was contained by the Seahawks, completing 21-of-38 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for 40 yards on 13 attempts.

After missing a game with an ankle injury, Warrick Dunn returned against the Seahawks and rushed for 104 yards.

Vick, the first overall pick in 2001, will not match up against Lions rookie quarterback Joey Harrington, who was selected third overall in the draft.

Harrington left last Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after one series with an irregular heartbeat. Coach Marty Mornhinweg announced the next day that Harrington would sit out the final two games as a precautionary measure.

Without Harrington, the Lions will turn to Mike McMahon. Against the Bucs, McMahon completed 10-of-21 passes for 158 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

One loss by the Lions in their last two games or one more defeat by Cincinnati, would clinch the first pick in the 2003 draft for the Bengals.

Detroit leads the series, 21-7.

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