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Lions looking for big bounce-back season

September 8, 2020 GMT

DETROIT LIONS (3-12-1)

New faces: RB Adrian Peterson, CBs Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant and Darryl Roberts, LBs Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland, S Duron Harmon and Jayron Kearse, DTs Danny Shelton and Nick Williams, DE Julian Okwara, RB D’Andre Swift, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OGs Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg, WR Quintez Cephus and QB Chase Daniel.

Key losses: CB Darius Slay, OG Graham Glasgow, LB Devon Kennard, OT Rick Wagner, DT Damon Harrison, CB Rashaan Melvin, S Tavon Wilson, P Sam Martin.

Strengths: Passing game. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are among NFL’s top trio of receivers on same team. Second-year TE T.J. Hockenson and veteran Jesse James provide other options for Stafford when he drops back to pass. RB Kerryon Johnson and Swift are also threats to make catches out of backfield.

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Weaknesses: Pass defense. Lions lost Slay, their best player in secondary, in free agency after ranking last against pass in 2019. Okudah has potential to be worth drafting No. 3 overall, but he will likely have growing pains as rookie. Trufant turns 30 just before season starts and he’s coming off injury-stunted season.

Pandemic Development: Jackson appears to be in position to start at right guard, replacing Glasgow. With preseason games canceled, rookie from Ohio State won’t have opportunity to block defender at full speed until Week 1 at home against Chicago Bears.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Jones. He is in last year of contract, providing some extra motivation. At 30 Jones seems to be as speedy as ever coming off ankle injury that ended his 2019 season. He could increase value on market with 70 receptions, 1,000 yards receiving and 10 TDs.

Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl: 66-1. Over/under wins: 6 1-2.

Expectations: Lions may be .500 team if they can keep Stafford on field after finding out how valuable he was last season. He missed last eight games with back injury, leading to team losing nine straight games. If Stafford isn’t healthy for much or all of season, that leaves team with Chase Daniel at QB, and it might cost Quinn and Patricia their jobs.

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