TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Ford Field
Line: Detroit (-5)
The Detroit Lions are coming off a disappointing season, to say the least, in 2012. They finished 4-12 and took a huge step back from their 10-win season and a playoff appearance in 2011 and head coach Jim Schwartz looks to be on the hot-seat. The addition of Reggie Bush should help the offensive attack along with Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. Stafford passed for over 5,000 yards for the second-straight season in 2012 and Johnson was on the receiving end of more than a third of those yards with 1,964 yards and five scores. A healthy Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles should help out the pass game much more.
On the other side of the field, the Minnesota Vikings will travel to Detroit to take on the new-look Lions. It goes without saying that the Vikings have the best running back in the world right now. Adrian Peterson rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012 and was just nine yards away from breaking the single-season rushing record. Christian Ponder is a big question mark heading into week one with his 2,935 yards and 18 touchdowns a season ago. He averaged less than 200 yards per game and just over a touchdown per game in 2012 — he needs major improvement. Greg Jennings will be a major target for Ponder this season along with rookie Cordarrelle Patterson.
Defensively, the Lions have added some pieces in the offseason that could lead to a far better performance than the lower-tier results in 2012. Detroit added safety Glover Quin and drafted cornerback Darius Slay in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. If Louis Delmas and Chris Houston can stay healthy, the secondary could end up playing out as one of the team’s strengths in 2013.
Minnesota has one of the best defensive end duos in the league with Jared Allen and Brian Robison, but the secondary is spotty — to say the least. Chad Greenway will lead the defense in the middle as one of the best tacklers on the team. The Vikings were a middle-of-the-pack squad a season ago and could be a bit better this season with loads of potential.
PREDICTION: Vikings 27, Lions 35
Related: Detroit Preview