As week one is rapidly approaching, I will continue on with the tradition from last year of bringing you my five “Lions to watch” before every game.
1. RB D’andre Swift
Swift was the Lions second-round pick in this past year’s NFL draft. Swift is coming in with high expectations after a very nice season last year for the Georgia Bulldogs. He is a shifty player who can catch very well out of the backfield. A few beat writers who have seen him in open practices this year have compared his role to Alvin Kamara in New Orleans.
2. RB Adrian Peterson
“All Day” Will make his Lions debut on Sunday. Peterson signed with the Lions last week and may even play a big role this Sunday. He is only 1053 yards away from passing Lions legend Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list. How crazy would it be if he passes him as a member of the Lions?
3. CB Jeff Okudah
Okudah will be making his debut in week one vs. the division-rival Bears. He will not start due to Amani Oruwariye‘s emergence late last season as well as his strong camp. Okudah also had his fair share of struggles in camp, but that is expected when he is going up against Kenny Golladay, Jones, and others on a daily basis. It is important not to freak out over Okudah, not starting week 1. He will, by the end of the year, be in the starting lineup.
4. CB Amani Oruwariye
Oruwariye had a productive rookie season last year and is looking to build on that after an equally strong camp. He beat out rookie third overall pick Jeff Okudah and will start across from Desmond Trufant in his second season.
5. QB Matthew Stafford
We have gotten used to a lack of ability at the quarterback position in Detroit after Stafford went down and missed the last eight games of the season last year. With no pre-season to watch, we have not adjusted back to how spoiled we were for the last few years with him. This will call change on Sunday when Stafford is back under center for the Lions. Even though the Bears have a pair of pass rushers, any team would like to have, as well as a pair of young defensive backs that can make a play at any moment. I still expect Stafford to have a field day with most of his weapons at his disposal after Golladay has been listed as doubtful.
Even with Golladay and Halapoulivaati Vaitai likely to miss the game, I still like the Lions win this one due to their other weapons on offense. The lack of weapons on offense for the Bears helps as well. The Lion’s defense will not have to work as hard as they will need to vs. Green Bay, for example. Lions 21- Bears 17
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