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Season and Weekend Preview.

Five Things that will need to happen in order for the Lions to have a successful season.

1.Joey Harrington must reduce his interceptions, be even more accurate and effecient as a passer, and assume his role as a team leader.

2. Kevin Jones and Artose Pinner need to combine for at least 1400 yards rushing or the Lions will again be in deep trouble offensively.

3. A pass rusher has to emerge from their defensive line. Kalimba Edwards where the Lions hopes lie, must remain healthy and begin to fulfill his potential as a pass rusher. Hopefully Robert Porcher in less plays will be able to concentrate his efforts and be overall more effective. In a defense that will not blitz often under new defensive coordinator, Dick Jauron, it is imperative that Jared Devries, James Hall and Corey Redding step up the pressure.

4.The Linebacking corps that is thin to begin with must remain healthy. Dirty Davis and Teddy Lehman have a lot to learn. Their continued development will make or break this defense.

5. The Lions offensive line will have to be effective enough so that Harrington will not rush to throw the ball away, provide the type of blocking that will lead to rushing success and pass block well enough so that the Lions will have the occasional luxury of having the time necessary to stretch the field with the deep ball. Otherwise NFL Corners will jam the younger Lions receivers constantly at the line of scrimmage and prevent them from running their routes.

The matchup with Chicago is an intriguing one. The Lions have a wonderful opportunity to get a monkey off of their backs by getting an early road win. The Chicago offense and defense will be quite different under the watch of 1st year head coach Lovie Smith. To be truthful, I have a hard time seeing where Chicago will get their points from. Rex Grossman is a very young Quarterback, who is learning a new system. In order to beef up their defense, Chicago traded it’s best receiver, Marty Booker for Defensive End, Adewale Ogunleye. They will now rely on David Terrell, Justin Gage and Bobby Wade. Terrell is in a do or die situation. Thus far he has been a major bust. The bears are also taking a risk by going to the still unproven first rounder, Thomas Jones, who has rarely lived up to expectations. They do have some depth here with an unhappy Anthony Thomas, riding the pine.

Their defense is also questionable with their lack of depth in the secondary. They are forced to use RW McQuarters, who is normally a a nickle back. They have invested a lot in their defensive line with high draft picks used on Michael Haynes and Tommie Harris in recent years. It also remains to be seen if Ogunleye will be effective with all the attention he will draw. (In recent years he would be one on one on the outside while Jason Taylor, the best DE in football drew all of the attention)

The Lions will have to play a very solid football game in order to win in Chicago. Paul Edinger always seem to get a lot of crucial field goals versus the Lions. I think that this will be a low scoring affair, even with all of the question marks on both defenses. Their always seems to be an unknown contributor who causes the Lions troubles ala Brock Forsey or Jerry Azumah or Marty Mornihnweg when the Lions face the Bears. The Lions can outmatch the Bears if they control the time of posession and don’t turn the ball over. I predict a 23-13 Lions victory.

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