Facing a similar situation two games ago, the Falcons fell flat at Carolina.
They are vowing not to do the same at Detroit (4-10) with home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs within their reach.
“I think we learned our lesson from the Carolina game,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said.
“We are not taking anything for granted. We’ve still got work to do. We’ve still got things to get better at. They are going to give us their best shot. We know that.”
Some players admitted to becoming too relaxed in their preparation for the Panthers’, which followed a tough victory against the Saints.
After the 30-20 defeat at Carolina, the Falcons responded with what they said was a focused week of practice before their 34-0 victory against the Giants on Sunday.
Coach Mike Smith doesn’t expect a repeat of the lax preparation.
“I certainly hope we approach it differently,” Smith said. “I believe we will. This (Detroit) is a very good football team. Their record is not indicative of what kind of team they are.”
Smith noted the Lions have lost eight games by eight points or fewer and, like the Giants, have a talented defensive line.
The Falcons started slowly against Carolina and never recovered. They want to jump on the Lions early.
“We want to do that every week, but even more so this week,” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said.
“If we can get them behind the 8-ball and under our thumb early, I think the ball will be in our court.”