Opening kickoff of the 86th season of Detroit Lions football is set to begin Sunday on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, and it’s safe to say that optimism is very low among the “experts” as it pertains to the level of the success that the Lions can achieve this year.
All those doubts start very early, with a whopping 68% of nflpickwatch.com “expert picks” going to the Colts, including 8 of 10 expert picks on ESPN (the same ten man ESPN panel that 8 of 10 picked Carolina to roll Denver).
Well, I beg the differ on this one. Yes, it’s the Lions. Yes, the Colts have Andrew Luck back and yes, the Lions are on the road. In the past, this would all spell doom for Detroit. But there are a few huge factors in this game that I believe turn the tide hugely in the favor of the Lions and I’m expecting a lopsided affair because of it. Here are those reasons.
Lions Defensive Line vs Colts Offensive Line
One of the biggest factors in predicting a dominant performance by the Lions in Indianapolis on Sunday will be the presumption that the Lions defensive line will absolutely control every aspect of the line of scrimmage. The Colts will field an offensive line featuring a rookie anchor in center Ryan Kelly and two banged up guards who are yet to be cleared to play in Jack Mewhort and Joe Haeg. Tackle Anthony Castonzo has been the most steady performer for the Colts front five but he has had an inconsistent preseason and will shoulder the brunt of slowing down none other than Detroit Pro Bowl defensive end Ziggy Ansah himself. Add in a healthy and motivated Haloti Ngata rotating with the twitchy Tyrunn Walker and massive rookie A’Shawn Robinson – then the Lions should have no problems penetrating the Colts’ wall and opening lanes for their linebackers to wreak havoc. It should be fun watching this mismatch on Sunday.
Lions passing attack vs Colts passing defense
Look alive Matthew Stafford! You should certainly be able to feast on the depleted secondary on the Colts on Sunday afternoon. Indianapolis will feature a secondary that will be without shutdown corner Vontae Davis, starting safety Clayton Geathers and nickel back Darius Butler. Meanwhile, Stafford will take the field with the arsenal of an Army Green Beret unit. Weapons at his disposal will include Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin, Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron. On top of all of that, the Lions young offensive line shouldn’t have too much trouble with a Colts’ pass rush that will feature a 56-year-old (35, actually) Robert Mathis as the main torpedo. The Lions air attack should be on full display at Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday.
No one’s expecting it
The Lions love doing Lions things. For instance, whenever they are expected to perform a certain way they sometimes surprise by doing the exact opposite. It’s one of the undeniable truths of the phrase “it’s the Lions”. So, no one is expecting the Lions to beat the Colts tomorrow and I figure that they come out and blow the roof off of Lucas Oil. No one is expecting them to win many games this year and I feel like, pending their ability to stay healthy, will go down to the wire with the Packers for the NFC North crown. Let’s look at the past few years and expectations and the Lions performance. They always reversed course. It’s quite intriguing actually…
So, if the pattern stays true, the Lions are in for a big year! And it starts Sunday in Indy by the de-throttling of the Colts. Remember these words (or just ridicule them later on)! Either way, GO LIONS!