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Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons eye starting up rare winning streaks

Detroit Lions free safety Will Harris, right, defends against Jaguars tight end Tyler Davis in the second half Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP photo)

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons actually have a shot at a winning streak.

Ditto for the Detroit Lions, who haven’t won back-to-back games in more than a year.

At the moment, that’s the sole focus for these struggling teams.

Two in a row.

“I stopped looking at the standings about three weeks ago,” Falcons running back Todd Gurley said with a chuckle.

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson reacts during a game against the Jaguars on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP photo)

Atlanta (1-5) began its season with five straight losses, the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games after leading by at least 15 points in the fourth quarter.

That led to the firing of coach Dan Quinn, who was replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

The Falcons responded to the coaching change with an impressive 40-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Coming off a bye week, the Lions (2-3) romped to a 34-16 victory at Jacksonville.

The Lions haven’t had a winning streak since Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2019 season.

“That’s good for everybody just to have a little bit of confidence in some of the things we were doing and be able to see it and honestly see what I would call ‘two weeks of work’ really show up in a game,” Detroit’s Matt Patricia said.

Mimicking the Falcons, Detroit squandered leads of 17, 14 and 11 points in its three losses.

The bye week provided a chance to reset.

“We thought it was a really good time for us to grind it out and really take a look at the first four games,” Patricia said.

Both teams can cling to the hope that better days are ahead. The Lions are heading into what appears to be the easier part of their schedule, while the last-place Falcons have played only one game against NFC South opponents.

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Swiftly rising

The Lions may be moving toward the realization that rookie D’Andre Swift deserves the lead role in the backfield over 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, one of the great runners in NFL history.

Swift went for 116 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars, including a 54-yard burst that was the team’s longest rushing play of the season.

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