Mister Obvious Says – The Ndamukong Suh experiment has come to an end for Detroit and the Lions are not lamenting over it. While Detroit’s fans might criticize the Lions for not upping the ante on Suh, the Lions are fine with moving on without the annual distractions Suh brought with his ornery on-field behavior. Suh is a potential Hall of Famer but the Lions believe they brought in another defensive tackle of similar caliber in Haloti Ngata from the Ravens. Offensively, Detroit must concern itself with quarterback Matthew Stafford turning the corner. He threw more than 600 passes last year but only completed 22 of them for touchdowns.
Biggest Addition – Ngata is literally big at 6’4” and 340 pounds. Although he’s had more sacks in a season than what he put up last year for Baltimore with two, he did have a career-high seven pass deflections and tied career highs with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. That means the 10-year vet is as active as ever.
Biggest Loss – Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract to play with Miami, ending his five-year run with Detroit. Another defensive tackle, Nick Fairley, left to the St. Louis Rams after spending four years with the Lions.
Rookie To Watch – RB Ameer Abdullah showed his value in Detroit’s first preseason game, rushing for 67 yards on seven carries against the Jets. He remains behind injured Joique Bell (recovering from knee and Achilles’ tendon surgery) on the depth chart but he can become the man if Bell falters or is unable to play.
Marquee Match-up – Detroit hosts Green Bay in Week 13, nine days after both teams play on Thanksgiving. It will be the last of a three-game home stand for the Lions – their second three-game home stand of the season. They could be maneuvering for a playoff spot when the Packers come to town.
Game Most Likely to Win – In Week 11, Oakland travels to Detroit.
Game Most Likely to Lose – Week 4 at Seattle, a week after hosting Denver.
Overall Thoughts – Some of Stafford’s big-play deficiencies last year were because Calvin Johnson was consistently hobbled by ankle injuries. Stafford, who has yet to win a playoff game with Detroit, has indicated that Johnson is at full health in camp and is having “a fantastic training camp.” In a tough division that includes Green Bay, Chicago with new coach John Fox and Minnesota with Adrian Peterson returning, Detroit coach Jim Caldwell is in a difficult spot. If Stafford’s offensive line can protect him and set up the Lions’ newly-installed power running attack, Caldwell’s team can control tempo and have a shot at winning most games.