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Friday open thread: Which Lions player will be key vs. New York Jets?

Who will be the biggest key to the Detroit Lions’ success on Monday night?

New York Jets v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The NFL opened its 2018 season on Thursday night to an ugly game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. Both teams looked... well, they looked like they weren’t quite in tip-top shape for the regular season and may still have some growing pains to go through.

If there’s a team that may be able to relate, it’s the Detroit Lions. Like the Eagles and Falcons, they struggled through the preseason, looking rusty at best, completely befuddled at worst.

But the Lions were given a small present from the schedule-makers in 2018. Their first test of the season will be against the New York Jets—a team that is not only a consensus bottom-five team, but one that will be starting a rookie quarterback on Monday night, in front of a national audience.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Lions player will be key to victory for Week 1?

My answer: Ezekiel Ansah.

The Jets have a horrible offensive line. The Lions have a horrible defensive line. It’s weakness vs. weakness, and the Lions need to win that matchup to make Sam Darnold uncomfortable in his debut and force him into a mistake. It’s impossible to know if Darnold will become the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be, but he looked pretty darn good in the preseason when given time. The last thing this Lions defense needs is a butt-whooping by a rookie quarterback to start the year.

And that brings us to Ansah. He’s been dead-quiet all preseason and training camp... literally. The man appears dead-focused on playing, and, for him, that means saying very little to the media.

As a result, there hasn’t been much coverage of the guy. He didn’t play a ton in the preseason, and his performance out there wasn’t good nor bad. However, it’ll need to be good right out of the gate for this defense to build some confidence that it can generate some pass rush in 2018.

If Ziggy can’t get it going on Monday night, we could be in for a long season.

Your turn.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.