Cleat Geeks

The Lion of Scrimmage; Week One Preview

 

The preseason is finally over and we finally have meaningful football to look forward to. For the Lions these practice games have been less than impressive, but none of that matters now. The only thing that matters for Detroit at this point is starting the year off on the right foot verse the Colts. This is a critical game for both teams who each have hopes of making a playoff push this year. Here’s how the match breaks down.

Lions running game vs Colts front seven:

This is an area where I believe Detroit has a significant advantage. While the Detroit offensive line has a lot of question marks, I believe they have talent to work with in the trenches. More importantly, I don’t think the Colts defensive line is very good. This seems like a perfect match-up for the Lions offensive line to continue to jell together against a team they should beat up front. On top of that the Colts said goodbye in the off-season to their star middle linebacker, Jerrell Freeman, who was a tackling machine while with Indianapolis. I expect Ameer Abdullah to have a very good day running the ball as the Lions line paves the way against a very questionable Colts front seven.AmeerAbdullah

Lions passing attack vs Colts secondary:

Again, this is an advantage for Detroit. The Colts secondary isn’t particularly good as it is, but it looks like they’re going to have a couple guys banged up for this game. This is a chance for Matthew Stafford, who thrived under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter in the second half of last year, to start the year off on a positive note. Just like with the offensive line, this group is still jelling together with new additions of Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin and whoever will be filling in for Eric Ebron (who is likely to miss the game) at tight end. Even with the new faces and preseason struggles, I expect Stafford to carve up this Colts defense. He’s in the prime of his career and has proven to be one of the better passers in the league. He needs to get it done in this game and I think he will.

Colts running game vs Lions front seven:

ziggyansahThe Colts have been looking for a running game for a long time. They’re hoping that the addition of first round draft pick Ryan Kelly will help them in this department. He, along with the rest of the offensive line, will be trying to open up holes for 33 year old Frank Gore. Gore averaged a career low 3.7 yards per carry with his first season with the Colts last year, on his way to finishing with under 1,000 rushing yards for only the second time in his career. I believe he will find limited success against the Lions in week one. With stars like Ansah, Ngata, and Levy in the front seven and solid role players like Whitehead and Taylor, I think Detroit limits the damage that the Colts can do on the ground. Advantage Lions in this area.

Colts passing attack vs Lions secondary:

Here’s where the Colts cover up a lot of their flaws. Andrew Luck is regarded by most to being one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He is coming off an injury plagued year, where even when he was healthy he did not play very well, but I think it’s fair to expect him to bounce back. I also feel pretty confident in betting against this Lions secondary. While Darius Slay is one of the best corners in the game and Glover Quin is still looking rock solid, things go down hill in a hurry after that. I have little faith in probable starting CB Nevin Lawson to cover the many playmaking receivers the Colts will be rolling out. I don’t think the strong safety will be as big an issue in this game, but I still have plenty of questions here as well. This is the great equalizer for the Colts.

Overall

lionsvscoltsI think this is a game the Lions should win. Their defense is better than the Colts who I don’t think are going to stop much of anyone this year. Neither team has an established rushing offense, but considering the opposing defense I think the Lions get the edge here too. I’d expect both quarterbacks to have a good game, but unless Luck goes absolutely nuts in this game I don’t think the passing offense will be enough to keep the Colts in it. I give Indy a punchers chance, but I expect the Lions to win this one.

Prediction:

Lions – 27

Colts – 23

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