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Giants 2017 Schedule Preview: Detroit Lions

The Lions are all about QB Matthew Stafford

Wild Card Round - Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks
Matthew Stafford
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The New York Giants will open the home portion of their 2017 NFL regular-season schedule with a Monday Night Football game against the Detroit Lions. Let’s take a look at the Lions as we preview each of the Giants’ 2017 opponents.

Lions In 2016

Record: 9-7
NFC North: 2nd
Playoffs: Lost to Seattle Seahawks, 26-6, in Wild-Card game
Offensive rank: No. 20
Defensive rank: No. 13
vs. Giants: Week 15 — Lost, 17-6

Roster Moves

Key Losses

WR Anquan Boldin, OT Riley Reiff, DE Devin Taylor, FB Mike Burton, RG Larry Warford, LB DeAndre Levy

Key Additions

DE Cornelius Washington, OT Ricky Wagner, LB Paul Worrilow, DT Akeem Spence, CB D.J. Hayden, G T.J. Lang, FB Matt Asiata, OT Greg Robinson (trade), OT Cyrus Kouandjio

2017 NFL Draft

  • Round 1 (21st) — LB Jarrad Davis
  • Round 2 (53rd) — CB Teez Tabor
  • Round 3 (96th) — WR Kenny Golladay
  • Round 4 (124th) — LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  • Round 4 (127th) — TE Michael Roberts
  • Round 5 (165th) — CB Jamal Agnew
  • Round 6 (205th) — DE Jeremiah Ledbetter
  • Round 6 (215th) — QB Brad Kaaya
  • Round 7 (250th) — DE Pat O’Connor

Three Questions With Pride of Detroit

Jeremy Reisman of SB Nation’s Lions blog, Pride of Detroit, answers three quick questions for us:

Ed: What is your favorite thing that the Lions accomplished this offseason?

Jeremy: I really liked general manager Bob Quinn's aggressive attempt to upgrade the offensive line. With starting right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Riley Reiff both set to become free agents, Quinn was able to upgrade both positions by signing T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner while actually paying out less than it would have cost to re-sign both Warford and Reiff. Detroit has struggled to run the ball and protect Matthew Stafford. Quinn's aggressive free agency tactics could turn that around in 2017.

Ed: What is the one thing they did not accomplish, or that happened to them, that has you the most concerned?

Jeremy: The Lions did not make any real improvements to their pass rush, which was desperately lacking in 2016. Ezekiel Ansah promises to be healthier this year, but across from him, Detroit doesn't have a true starter on the left side. The Lions have a few new names on the defensive line (Cornelius Washington, Akeem Spence), but none inspire enough confidence to believe Detroit will make any big improvements on a unit that had the second-fewest sacks in the league last season.

Ed: Are you optimistic that this will be a good season for the Lions or pessimistic that a down year might be coming?

Jeremy: This may be a cop-out answer, but I think Detroit will fall right in the middle of the league this year. Quinn has done an excellent job building depth at nearly every position, but he's still missing one very important piece: Quality starters. Detroit has a few big play-makers on the team, but nowhere near enough, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Matthew Stafford will continue to give this team a chance to win on a weekly basis, but with a defense still in transition, the Lions' ceiling is probably 10 wins.

Valentine’s View

The Lions were not a great team in 2016. They made the playoffs thanks almost entirely to the heroics of Stafford, who engineered a record-setting eight fourth-quarter comebacks. Depending on your quarterback to perform late-game miracles week after week is not a sustainable formula for success.

The Lions have a revamped offensive line, but without left tackle Taylor Decker that doesn’t mean it will be better. To me, this Lions team looks and feels like what it was last year — a middle-of-the-road team completely dependent on Stafford to win them games.

One interesting thing with Detroit will be to see the play of rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis. He is a player many thought the Giants would snag had he still been available with the 23rd overall pick.

Key matchups in this one will be Ansah vs. Ereck Flowers and the Lions offensive tackles vs. Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul.