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Lions Preview Capsule

September 3, 2017

DETROIT (9-8)

New faces: OT Rick Wagner, OG T.J. Lang, OT Greg Robinson, DE Cornelius Washington, rookie LB Jarrad Davis, rookie CB Teez Tabor.

Key losses: OT Riley Reiff, OG Larry Warford, LB DeAndre Levy, DE Kerry Hyder, WR Anquan Boldin.

Strengths: Passing game. QB Matthew Stafford, armed with NFL’s richest contract, has found groove going into second full season in coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s offense. WR Golden Tate, WR Marvin Jones, TE Eric Ebron, RB Theo Riddick and RB Ameer Abdullah give Stafford slew of options.

Weaknesses: Running game averaged 30th last three years and might not be improved. Abdullah and Riddick coming off injury-shortened seasons and LT Taylor Decker out indefinitely after having shoulder surgery. On defense, each position group needs surprising contributor to help unit surpass low expectations. DE Kerry Hyder had season-ending Achilles tendon injury, putting more pressure on DE Ezekiel Ansah to be heathy and productive as he was two years ago.

Fantasy Players To Watch: Jones had career-high 930 yards receiving in first season with team. He might approach career-high 10 TDs from 2013 in Cincinnati without Boldin as go-to player in red zone. Abdullah can contribute on ground and air if he stays healthy.

Expectations: Team took down banner in renovated Ford Field that listed playoff appearances. Good move because Lions probably won’t make playoffs after earning spot in 2016, 2014 and 2011.

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