Belief Strong Among Falcons for Turnaround

The Falcons don't appear to be in an enviable position. They're 2-5 and on a four-game losing streak. The term "consistency" has been thrown about as a reason for the struggles, and fixing that isn't as simple as explaining it.

And seven games into the 2014 campaign, Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium in London against the Detroit Lions is looking like a must-win.

Traditionally, the Falcons will say they approach every game as a must-win when asked, but yielded a bit more Wednesday when poses with the question if Sunday's game was a bit more pivotal than just being important because it's the next one.

"We're at a point in the season with where we're at, moving forward, we're gonna have to win and we feel like we're gonna have to start winning this week," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "With that said, in the division, there's reason to be optimistic. As bad and as ugly as it's been the last couple of weeks, we're still right in the mix and that's one of the reasons I think there's a lot of optimism."

Outside the Falcons' locker room is one thing, but inside, that optimism does exist in the players preparing for a home game away from home Sunday.

The NFC South is competitive, to use an adjective that head coach Mike Smith used Wednesday, with the Falcons sitting just one game out of first place.

"I think our division is wide open. As poorly as we feel like we've played and as inconsistently as we have played, we're right in the thick of the division race," Smith said. "It's going to be critical for us to get a win this week and stay in the race. This is something that's going to go down to the wire. It's very bunched."

Smith added that the overall record matters little and the division record is what matters most in securing a playoff spot, and with the rest of the division looking similar to the Falcons, getting hot now and putting together a positive streak could go a long way toward earning a division title.

In order for that to happen, the Falcons will have to start to get things together against a team that Smith said is tops in the league in all the major categories he looks at when judging a defense.

The Detroit Lions lead the league in total defense, rushing defense and passing touchdowns allowed, making Sunday's game even more daunting for the Falcons.

Offensively, the Lions could get star wide receiver Calvin Johnson back as he's been recovering from injury. In his absence, newly acquired wideout Golden Tate has turned into a reliable weapon for quarterback Matthew Stafford, giving the Falcons' defense another target on an offense that, like the Falcons, is trying to find some consistency.

To help build their confidence back up and get things rolling in the right direction, the only thing the Falcons are focused on right now is getting back into the "W" column, however that comes.

"Must-win? Yes. It's a must-win," Julio Jones said. "Just speaking: If we lose, we're not going to give up on ourselves. We've got to keep working. We've got to keep fighting. We're a family — you can't give up on your brothers next to you. Even though we're 2-5, we can still turn this thing around."

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