Every week we will take a quick look at the next five opponents for the Detroit Lions and the top storylines to come out of their most recent game.
WEEK 2 – at New York Giants (0-1), Monday Night Football, MetLife Stadium
The Giants offense was really bad in a 19-3 loss in Dallas on Sunday night, but they were without receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., their top weapon who is still nursing an injury suffered in the preseason. Quarterback Eli Manning averaged only 5.7 yards per pass, and the Giants managed just 35 yards rushing. That’s a bad combination. The biggest question going into Monday will be the status of OBJ, and if that extra day of rest will be enough to get him into the game against the Lions.
WEEK 3 – vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-0), Ford Field
The Falcons went on the road and struggled to beat the Bears 23-17. Matt Ryan had to lead a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives, including an 88-yard TD pass to tight end Austin Hooper, just to stay in front of Chicago. Even that almost wasn’t enough, as the Bears got down to the Falcons five-yard line in the closing minute, but dropped two potential game-winning touchdown passes, then gave up a sack to hand the game to the Falcons. Devonta Freeman was a 1,000-yard rusher last season but had only 37 yards on 12 carries. It was a sloppy start for the Falcons, but an ugly win is better than a pretty loss. Atlanta hosts Green Bay in Week 2.
WEEK 4 – at Minnesota Vikings (1-0), US Bank Stadium
The Vikings played an almost perfect offensive game Monday night in their 29-19 win over New Orleans. Sam Bradford looked a lot more comfortable than he was last season when Minnesota traded for him the week before the season started, going off for 346 yards and three TDs. Running back Dalvin Cook set a new rookie rushing mark in a Vikings opener with 127 yards. If Minny can keep up that kind of a balanced offense, they will be tough to contain. The Vikings will play a much better defense at Pittsburgh in Week 2.
WEEK 5 – vs. Carolina Panthers (1-0), Ford Field
The big headline coming out of the Panthers dominating 23-3 win at San Francisco was the return of Cam Newton after off-season shoulder season. He had a pair of TD passes, but looked very rusty. The story should have been that Carolina defense. They had four sacks while holding the 49ers to only 217 total yards, and just 2-for-11 on third down conversions. Running backs James Stewart and rookie Christian McCaffrey kept the pressure off Newton as they combined for 112 yards on 31 carries for the Panthers, who host the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.
WEEK 6 – at New Orleans Saints (0-1), Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The other side of the Monday Night game was the Saints getting torched both in the air and the ground by the Vikings in that 29-19 loss. The New Orleans defense gave up 470 total yards, including TD drives of 74, 98, and 84 yards. Adrian Peterson’s return to Minnesota was inauspicious at best, gaining just 18 yards on 6 carries. Quarterback Drew Brees looks timeless, going 27-for-37 for 291 yards and a TD, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the defense, which now has to face Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Big Easy in Week 2.