The Detroit Lions’ 2016 season ultimately was defined by their inability to compete with the upper-tier teams of the NFC. The 2017 Lions will face that same challenge early in the season, taking on the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons in the third weeks of the season. Matthew Stafford will face off against his good friend Matt Ryan for just the fourth time in their career (Ryan leads the matchup, 2-1).
For a look at the 2017 Atlanta Falcons, we asked The Falcoholic somewhere between 28 and 3 questions. Here are their answers:
Notable free agent additions: DT Dontari Poe, WR Andre Roberts, FB Derrick Coleman, DE Jack Crawford
Notable free agent departures: FB Patrick DiMarco, DT Tyson Jackson
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:DE Takkarist McKinley, LB Duke Riley, FS/CB Damontae Kazee
Biggest offseason addition: Poe. He’s signed for just one year, but he’s slimming down and has the talent to be the missing piece for the Falcons’ so-so run defense, plus a situationally useful pass rusher. For a team with very few glaring holes on defense, Poe is a huge addition, especially given the team’s real questions at defensive tackle aside from Grady Jarrett.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Can the Falcons rebound from the most crushing Super Bowl loss of all-time? Everyone wants to know if the team has the mental toughness or can-do attitude or whatever you call it to return to relevance and contention in 2017. There’s a rich history of teams falling short the year after a Super Bowl berth, especially when they lose, so Atlanta will have to do more than talk about staying focused (which they’ve done) and show they’re as good or better than they were a year ago.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Is the defense ready to break out? The Falcons battered Tom Brady for almost three full quarters in the Super Bowl and quietly played very well down the stretch last year. We know the offense will be good, but can the defense take a step forward on the strength of additions like Poe and their current young core? We’ll see some very early glimpses in training camp.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Everyone should be healthy, but Desmond Trufant, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Alex Mack, Julio Jones, and Taylor Gabriel are all coming off injuries and will need to prove their health.
Thanks for the answers, The Falcoholic. We’ll see you guys in late September.
Will the Lions defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3?
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