We can’t wait for the return of Detroit Lions football. It may only be just a few hours away, but it still feels like too long.
So instead of just waiting to see what happens, let’s put on our Nostradamus hat—did he ever actually wear a hat?—and try to guess what is going to happen at Lucas Oil Stadium just a few hours from now.
Here are four predictions for the Lions vs. Colts preseason opener:
1. The Detroit Lions will tally at least three interceptions
The Detroit Lions boosted their secondary this offseason by drafting Teez Tabor in the second round, Jamal Agnew in the fifth and making it a priority to sign DJ Hayden in free agency. As a result, the Lions not only have a pretty solid starting corps in their secondary, but they boast some pretty solid depth, too.
The Colts, on the other hand, will not have Andrew Luck on Sunday. The duo of Scott Tolzien and rookie Phillip Walker has not been impressive during this week’s joint practices, nor any of Colts training camp.
The Lions had a big problem forcing turnovers last season, but that is going to look like a problem of the past after Sunday’s game.
2. Jared Abbrederis will lead the Lions in receiving yards
The Lions’ battle for the fourth and possibly fifth receiver spot on this roster is going to be hotly contested, and I get the feeling Abbrederis will take an early lead on the competition Sunday. Abbrederis has quietly been impressing at camp, seemingly getting better every day.
Remember that this is a kid who could have had a few offers to join an active roster late in 2016, but turned them all down to fully rehab from injury and join Detroit after their season was over. Abbrederis is an overall solid receiver with reliable hands and precise route running. That’s exactly what backup quarterbacks like Brad Kaaya and Jake Rudock love to rely upon.
3. The Lions running game will look bad... very bad
Ameer Abdullah may break off one long run, but I’m guessing he won’t get more than three or four touches in the game. The Lions absolutely cannot afford to lose him to injury in a preseason game.
That means you’ll have the rest of Detroit’s mediocre backfield in for the majority of the game, and in front of them, a patched-together offensive line. The Lions will likely be without at least two starters on the offensive line—T.J. Lang and Taylor Decker—and the rest of Detroit’s depth hasn’t looked all that great this training camp. Take this note from MLive’s Kyle Meinke after Friday’s joint practice:
Graham Glasgow has been up and down on the left side, while Joe Dahl has been underwhelming -- and on Friday, he was awful. He barely got a hand on Colts DT Henry Anderson on his first rep in one-on-ones. How that happens, I don't know -- and then he did the exact same thing against Margus Hunt on his next rep.
The Lions are similarly struggling at the tackle position, with Detroit scrambling to find healthy depth behind Rick Wagner and Decker.
4. Jamal Agnew will score
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a special teams player than I am right now. Agnew will likely only get time against the Colts’ threes and fours, and his blazing speed is going to torch those guys. I don’t know if it’ll be on a punt return or on a pick-six, but I think Agnew is going to find the end zone on Sunday, and it will be glorious.