Atlanta (6-4) at Detroit (4-6)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 12:30 pm EST Thu Nov 24, 2005
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A few weeks ago, the Atlanta Falcons were talking about gaining home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Their focus has switched to just making the playoffs.

Atlanta looks to end its two-game losing streak when it visits Detroit in the Lions’ annual Thanksgiving game.

The Falcons won six of their first eight contests and had their sights set on securing home field after losing the NFC championship game at Philadelphia in January.

Atlanta, though, has dropped two in a row at home and now finds itself in third place in the highly competitive NFC South.

With six games left, the Falcons trail co-leaders Carolina and Tampa Bay by one game in the division. Four other NFC teams also have better records, which means Atlanta could miss out on the playoffs entirely if it doesn’t turn things around.

The Falcons still have two games remaining against Carolina, road trips to Tampa Bay and NFC North-leading Chicago, and a home contest against last-place New Orleans.

This is only the second two-game losing streak for Atlanta under coach Jim Mora since he took over before last season. The Falcons lost their final two regular-season games last year, but that skid came after they already had clinched the division championship and could afford to rest their starters for the playoffs.

“No one is going to cut their wrist, no one’s going to jump off a high building, or walk around like the sky is falling,” Mora said following his team’s 30-27 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. “We have to learn from it and we have to keep pressing on. This is a little bit of uncharted territory for this football team.”

Atlanta fell behind 13-0 to the Bucs, then moved the ball at will against Tampa Bay’s highly-ranked defense. Michael Vick led five straight scoring possessions, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins that gave the Falcons a 27-20 lead with 7:36 remaining.

The Bucs, though, tied the game with 1:55 left, then got the ball back when Vick fumbled. Tampa Bay converted the game-winning field goal with 42 seconds remaining.

The Falcons have been outscored 38-0 in the first quarter of their four losses, including 24-0 in the last two games.

“It doesn’t matter how you start,” Vick insisted. “It matters how you finish.”

Detroit failed in its attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season with a 20-7 loss at Dallas on Sunday.

The Lions were their own worst enemy, getting penalized 17 times for 129 yards and nine first downs. Each of Dallas’ four scoring drives included a failed third down that became a first down after Detroit was flagged.

“It’s those type of things that add up … to the level of frustration I had,” coach Steve Mariucci said.

Banged-up Jeff Garcia missed his third straight game for Detroit, which saw Joey Harrington go 17-for-25 for 169 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions against Dallas.

Mariucci has said Garcia will be the starter when he’s ready to return, but on Monday, said the Falcons will not know whether Harrington or Garcia will play until game time Thursday.

Detroit is hoping to get some other injured players back as well.

Standout cornerback Dre’ Bly said he will play against the Falcons after missing four games because of wrist surgery. Linebacker Boss Bailey (ankle) and safety Terrence Holt (back) may also return to the lineup, though linebacker Earl Holmes (knee) is a longshot, Mariucci said.

“We are hoping and keeping our fingers crossed that we will add to our personnel,” Mariucci said.

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Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

Scoreboard

Week 12
  Thursday, Nov 24  
  Atlanta
Detroit 27
7 Final
     
  Denver
Dallas 24
21 Final
OT
      Sunday, Nov 27  
  Baltimore
Cincinnati 29
42 Final
     
  Carolina
Buffalo 13
9 Final
     
  Chicago
Tampa Bay 13
10 Final
     
  Cleveland
Minnesota 12
24 Final
     
  New England
Kansas City 16
26 Final
     
  San Diego
Washington 23
17 Final
OT
     
  San Francisco
Tennessee 22
33 Final
     
  St. Louis
Houston 33
27 Final
OT
     
  Jacksonville
Arizona 24
17 Final
     
  Miami
Oakland 33
21 Final
     
  Green Bay
Philadelphia 14
19 Final
     
  NY Giants
Seattle 21
24 Final
OT
     
  New Orleans
NY Jets 21
19 Final
      Monday, Nov 28  
  Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 7
26 Final