Week 1: Detroit Lions Vs. St. Louis Rams

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
St. Louis Rams v New York Giants
Winner Why did the Detroit Lions make the playoffs last season? Because Matthew Stafford stayed healthy last year and he was able to use his arm strength and quick release to find Detroit’s big-play receivers. Stafford suffered a hand injury during the preseason but he should be ready for the opener.
Sam Bradford struggled with his health a year ago and could not match what he did as a rookie. He is healthy at the start of the season and he can depend on his mobility to buy time and throw accurately to his receivers.
Winner There is no stopping wide receiver Calvin Johnson when he is healthy and all systems are go for the start of the season. Nate Burleson is a fine complementary receiver and Tony Scheffler can get open and catch the ball. The running game is loaded with question marks.
New head coach Jeff Fisher is going to try to steady the ship in St. Louis and that means a heavy dose for veteran running back Steven Jackson. The receivers seem limited as rookie Brian Quick has size and strength but needs experience. Danny Amendola is a hard working hustler who is not a big-play threat.
Winner The Lions know they have talented players on defense, but discipline was an issue all season. Cliff Avril is a solid pass rusher while defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can destroy the interior running game and crush the pocket. Middle linebacker Stephen Tullock had 111 tackles last year.
Fisher wanted to bring in Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator but Roger Goodell put the former Saints defensive coordinator on the sidelines because of his role in Bountygate. Fisher and veteran coach Dave McGinnis will look to Chris Long for a pass rush and dependable middle linebacker James Laurinaitis to make tackles.
Special Teams
The Rams were done in by special teams last year and Fisher is going with a new placekicker in Greg Zuelein to try to steady the field goal kicking. The return game is ordinary.
Winner Jason Hanson has seemingly been kicking since the Reagan administration. While Hanson may have lost some range, he will not miss shorter kicks. Titus Young and Stefan Logan give the Lions a pair of solid return men.

The Winner Is

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
Winner Lions
3 out of 4

Jim Schwartz has some problems controlling his emotions on Game Day, but he knows his team is moving in the right direction and he’s not going to put up with any slippage in the 2012 season opener. Look for an easy win by the Lions, who appear to have an overwhelming edge in talent.


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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