The Detroit Lions season is just around the corner. The preseason is less than a month away, rookies report in under a week, and before you know it, the regular season will be here.
So in an effort to learn more about the Lions’ 2017 opponents, we gathered a bunch of information from our sister sites. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the important offseason moves from each team, and get a closer look at expectations for every one of the Lions’ opponents this year.
Today, we’ll kick things off with the Lions’ Week 1 opponent: the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions have dropped seven straight to the Cardinals, dating all the way back to 2006. This season, they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves from 2015’s embarrassing contest that resulted in Matthew Stafford getting pulled on route to a 42-17 plastering.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 Cardinals, as provided by our friends at Revenge of the Birds:
Notable free agent additions: S Antoine Bethea, LB Jarvis Jones, LB Karlos Dansby,
Notable free agent departures: LB Calais Campbell, S Tony Jefferson, S D.J. Swearinger, DB Marcus Cooper, LB Kevin Minter
Trades: Traded send second and fourth round picks in 2017 NFL Draft for Budda Baker.
Traded third round pick in 2017 NFL Draft for late third (Chad Williams) and fourth (Dorian Johnson) round pick in 2017 NFL Draft.
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
Haason Reddick, LB, Round 1 - Drafted 13th overall, Reddick has been thrust into the starting lineup with the offseason surgery for Deone Bucannon. Even before the injuries, Reddick was expected to be a key contributor on third downs as a pass rusher or blitzing from the linebacker position.
Budda Baker, DB, Round 2 - Baker is going to be on the field all over the secondary. One of the things Arizona loves to do is to use versatile players in different ways, giving them a matchup advantage on defense. Baker will be another chess piece, similar to Tyrann Mathieu, that can be moved from a single high safety, to an in-the-box player, to lining up in the slot as a corner.
T.J. Logan, RB, Round 5 - Logan is expected to be the return man on kickoffs at minimum for the Arizona Cardinals, who were dreadful in this area last season. Logan is a dynamic player with an ability to make things happen in the return game for the Cardinals.
Chad Williams, WR, Round 3 - While Williams is not expected to contribute much in year one, the Cardinals wide receiver corps had to deal with a lot of injuries and ineffective play in 2016. If that carries over into 2017, Williams could be the beneficiary of an extended look in a passing game that needs his physicality.
Biggest offseason addition:
Reddick and Baker - While the Cardinals didn’t necessarily need either player, both young defenders add a dimension of athleticism to the defense that they lacked at times last year. They also provide young depth at positions that was lacking in 2016.
The real biggest addition for this team is health. They had a lot of injuries to key players that didn’t get talked about, Mike Iupati, A.Q. Shipley, Justin Bethel and Deone Bucannon all played through injuries in 2016. If they can get right, that will be a huge boost to the 2017 Cardinals.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Carson Palmer and the offense. While there are more questions about the defense, Palmer and the offense will make this team a contender or a pretender. If they can find an early rhythm in the season and the offensive line can keep Palmer clean, they will buy enough time for the defense to figure it out. If the offense stumbles out of the gate again, they’ll likely be headed for another mediocre season as the defense will not be ready to win games that early.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
What’s the limit for David Johnson? He was spectacular in his sophomore season, but only a handful of players have been used like he was in 2016 and then produced again the following year. Is he inline with some notable Hall of Famers like Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson, or will his star shine bright and burn out quickly?
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
Deone Bucannon - May miss beginning of season.
A.Q. Shipley - Likely to be ready for start of season.
Thanks to Revenge of the Birds for all of this great information. Be sure to check them out for all of your Week 1 needs. In the meantime, how do you like the Lions’ chances to start the 2017 season with a win?
Will the Detroit Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1?
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