The Arizona Cardinals take on the Detroit Lions in game one of the 2017 season and Chris Perfett from Pride of Detroit was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
1. The Lions have a 27-21 record under Jim Caldwell, but it seems as though there is dissatisfaction with him, is this a make or break year?
Most of the dissatisfaction comes from fans. I think he's secure with the franchise, barring any kind of nuclear meltdown. He survived at least one perceived backstabbing, and he's got the loyalty of his players. He's built a staff that most Lions fans don't want to lose, with Teryl Austin at DC, Jim Bob Cooter OC, Kris Kocurek as defensive line coach, things of that nature.
I think the Stafford contract helps cement him further. The quarterback is set and he has a good rapport with the coach and offensive coordinator. Changing horses in this stream now is just asking for everything that comes with riding a horse through a goddamn moving river in the first place.
2. How has Ameer Abdullah looked?
He's looked scarce, I guess? I haven't seen much of him this year, even looking back on tape. The fact that the Lions aren't much of a running team has been enshrined for over 15 years now, and with Abdullah being injured in the past two seasons I think the Lions are still trying to remember that he's competent and can gain ground. In what we've seen he's looked fine.
That said, I know one of our writers, Kent Lee Platte, who is WAY smarter about this game than I ever will be, is working on a piece at Pride Of Detroit that touches on this subject. Jim Caldwell's past teams (Colts, Ravens) have never really had a good grasp of the ground game. It's a pretty bleak history, but I would also say that the Lions have a good deal of talent with Abdullah and most of the offensive line, and I'd like to think there's hope that's enough to overcome those ghosts.
3. How will the Lions deal without Taylor Decker?
(Greg Robinson is taking his place. It's going to suck, and I don't think fans will be ready for how much it will suck.)
4. Is the Lions pass rush as bad as everyone says?
If Ezekiel Ansah doesn't produce, there's no pass rush. We joked on a podcast recently, but it's true - the Lions have great potential to have more batted down passes than sacks in a per-game basis this year. This is equally attributed to terrible pass rushing as it is to A'Shawn Robinson's freakish stature and abilities. He rules so much. I would clone him 52 times and have a team of just A'Shawns.
5. Final score, prediction for Lions season?
Annihilation and death. The grand Horror of the Great States of America on full display as the parents consume their children, the floodwaters rushing in like wolves. The hungry world, cold and empty. The only certainty: the infinite grave. Lions 8 Cardinals 4.
Lions will go 8-8 in the radioactive wastelands of America. No nerds, it's not going to look like Fallout, shut up. You're not zombie apocalypse experts. You'll be the first to perish.