We’ll continue a series of opponent preview posts for the New Orleans Saints opponents in 2020. Next, we’ll look at what amounts to a potential trap game in the eyes of many Saints fans, their Week 4 matchup on the road against the Detroit Lions. Our friends over at Pride of Detroit took some time to give us Saints fans the scoop on team from Motor City.
Week 4: at the Detroit Lions
Notable free agent additions:
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, QB Chase Daniel, DT Nick Williams, DT Danny Shelton, LB Jamie Collins Sr., LB Reggie Ragland, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Darryl Roberts, S Jayron Kearse, S Duron Harmon (via trade)
10 wins — Under. The Lions offense could be very explosive in 2019. Matthew Stafford was playing at the top of his game before his back injury, plus the Lions added D’Andre Swift to finally give Stafford the running game he’s been lacking.
But defense remains the team’s biggest question mark. Matt Patricia has had no success on that side of the ball through two years. And while the roster has been completely overhauled on that side of the ball, it remains to be seen if the replacements (Nick Williams, Danny Shelton, Desmond Trufant) are upgrades over the players that left this offseason (A’Shawn Robinson, Damon Harrison Sr., Darius Slay).
Most exciting rookie:
If you aren’t excited about your team’s No. 3 overall pick, there’s a major problem. Okudah has been touted as the best cornerback prospect to come out of Ohio State (or college) in several years. Given the early success of guys like Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Okudah succeed right out of the gate.
Position battle to keep an eye on:
It will be interesting to see who gets the majority of reps with the first team: 2018 second-round pick Kerryon Johnson, or 2020 second-round pick D’Andre Swift. Though those two are expected to split snaps this season, Detroit also has some interesting depth battles at running back. Rookie fifth-round pick Jason Huntley is a speedy option that could win a role as a special teamer that can also catch out of the backfield. Although he’ll have to keep 2019 sixth-round pick Ty Johnson at bay.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Can the defense take a huge step this year? The Lions added a few key pieces to their defense this year: linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. and safety Duron Harmon. The Lions’ linebacking corps has really struggled in the past few years, and Collins is arguably one of the best off-ball linebackers in the league. He hasn’t succeeded outside of New England yet, but reuniting with Patricia may keep his level of play high. Harmon should allow youngster Tracy Walker to roam a little more free in the backfield, creating some mismatch problems for the opposing offense.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
Will new owner Sheila Ford Hamp make any significant changes this year? The Detroit Lions remain under “Ford” ownership, but 94-year-old Martha Firestone Ford announced she was handing the team over to her daughter earlier in the offseason. Ford Hamp said she would take time to evaluate and learn every aspect of the team before making any moves, but can we expect any in Year 1?
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
- TE T.J. Hockenson suffered a severe ankle injury on Thanksgiving last year. He appears to be close to 100 percent, but could start camp on the PUP.
- OG Kenny Wiggins suffered a torn bicep in December that required surgery.
- Matthew Stafford’s back, by everyone’s account, is 100% healed, and he should start training camp with no issues.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Can the Saints beat the Lions? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisDunnells.
How will the Saints fare against the Lions?
This poll is closed