The Detroit Lions cut down their roster to 45 this past weekend and also signed 8 players to the practice squad. Among those notable cuts were: CB Dre Bly, OT Jon Jansen, DT Landon Cohen, LB Vinny Ciurciu, RB DeDe Dorsey, DB Ko Simpson, DB Eric King and DE Kory Bosworth. Those that were released but signed to practice squad included: C Dan Gerberry, CB Jonathan Hefney, DT Robert Callaway, LB Caleb Campbell, WR Michael Moore, CB Paul Pratt and WR Tim Toone. Finally, the Lions made another transaction in trading TE Dan Gronkowski to the Denver Broncos for CB Alphonso Smith. This was a great move to shore up a defensive backfield that struggled throughout the preseason. Smith was a 2009 2nd round pick and will try to prove his worth after an unimpressive rookie season.
Now that the roster is finalized, Detroit can look forward to finally starting the regular season against their division rival, the Chicago Bears. Chicago definitely has some issues and the Lions should hopefully be able to exploit them and pull out a victory. It is always tough to win on the road in the NFL, especially against a division foe, but I believe the Lions will do enough to get it done.
When Detroit has the ball: Matthew Stafford has looked great throughout the preseason and if this can carry over to the regular season, then the Lions will be in good shape to win some games. Jahvid Best will be tough to stop, especially considering the Bears have an aging defense that is not what it used to be. Chicago did add a key addition in DE Julius Peppers, but he cannot do it himself on the defensive line. If no one steps up to help put pressure on Stafford, then I think he will be able to sit back in the pocket and pick them apart. If this is the case, Calvin Johnson will have a huge day, with some of the heat being taken off of him by Nate Burleson on the other side.
When Chicago has the ball: Jay Cutler is coming off of a 26 interception season and the Lions must force him into turnovers to have a chance. The defensive line has been the best unit on the Lion’s team and they should be able to get pressure on Cutler and force him into some bad decisions. Same with the Bears, if Detroit cannot get pressure on Cutler, then he will be able to sit back and pick a weak Lion’s secondary apart. The run game will also be key for the Bears and they have a solid back in Matt Forte. He did not have as great of a season last year, but he still has the ability to make big plays and carry the load for the Bears. The Lions have been stout against the run all preseason and if they can force the Bears to become one dimensional, then all the pressure will fall on Cutler, which is not good news for the Bears.
The lions go on the road and the offense carries them throughout the game. The defense does just enough to get the Lions a 24-21 victory.
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Written by David Lesmeister