The Detroit Lions will open their 2016-17 season on Sunday when they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.
The Lions finished third in the NFC North last season with a record of 7-9. The Colts finished second in the AFC South last season with a record of 8-8.
The Lions are coming off of a season in which they know they could’ve done better. The team started last season 1-7. The bye week changed things around as they finished the season 6-2. The Lions will hope to ride that momentum into this season.
Detroit has a lot of key pieces back such as Matthew Stafford, Darius Slay and Ezekiel Ansah,. But one key player is missing from last season’s roster, and that is Calvin Johnson. Johnson retired after playing just nine seasons in the NFL.
Detroit tried to replace Johnson by going out and getting Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin, but these guys don’t compare to the size and speed Johnson had.
The Colts’ offense will present a huge challenge to the Lions’ defense, because of all the weapons they have. The Colts have Andrew Luck back at quarterback, a veteran running back in Frank Gore and good receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief.
On the flip side, the Lions’ offense presents some challenges for the Colts’ defense as well. Stafford is good at finding the open man and Ameer Abdullah has good size and speed at running back. The Lions also have the receiving trio of Golden Tate, Jones and Bolden to help bolster their offensive attack.
Defense will be the key in this game as both teams struggled last season. The Colts and Lions both finished in the bottom half of the league in total yards allowed last season. Both teams are improved on defense this year, but it remains to be seen just how improved they actually are.
Keys to the game
The Lions have to be able to run the ball against the Colts. They are not known for running the ball a lot, but the Colts finished 25th in rushing yards allowed last season. Abdullah is a capable runner and even though he has had trouble holding onto the ball, he should be able to find some holes against this Colts defense.
The Lions’ secondary will be huge in this game. Luck is an elite quarterback in the league and he has a lot of weapons. The Lions finished 15th in pass yards allowed last season and only came away with nine interceptions, so the secondary will be key in week one.
Offensive line play will be the biggest key in this game. Whoever gets the better play from their line will win. Games are won in the trenches and neither team has a very strong offensive line. Both teams pass a lot, so whoever gives their quarterback the most time will win this game.
In the end I think the Lions will win this game. The Lions defensive front will get pressure on Luck and force him to get rid of the ball faster than he wants to. I think the Colts will keep it close, but the Lions will squeak it out at the end.
Lions 31 Colts 27