DETROIT LIONS (3-13-1)
New faces: DE Aidan Hutchinson, WR Jameson Williams, WR DJ Chark Jr., S DeShon Elliott, LBs Jarrad Davis.
Key losses: OLB Trey Flowers, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, DT Nick Williams.
Strengths: The Lions will lean on their offensive line, hoping their five starters stay together after not playing one game as a group last year. They invested first-round picks in OTs Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell along with C Frank Fragnow. P Jack Fox has ranked among the NFL’s top three in yards per punt during each of his two seasons.
Weaknesses: Each position group on defense might struggle. Detroit did attempt to fill a void by taking Hutchinson No. 2 overall, but it did not do much in the offseason to improve the linebacking group or secondary. Elliott, a sixth-round pick in 2018, was a significant offseason addition and he looked shaky in the preseason.
Camp Development: LB Malcolm Rodriguez, a sixth-round selection from Oklahoma State, was a pleasant surprise this summer. Instead of competing for a roster spot, the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Rodriguez may earn a starting job in Week 1.
Fantasy player to watch: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. The fourth-round pick in 2021 became the first rookie in league history to have eight-plus receptions in six straight games. He helped Detroit close the season 3-3 with five touchdowns during the six-game stretch. He joined Odell Beckham (2014) and Randy Moss (1998) as the only rookies in NFL history with at least 90 yards receiving and a receiving touchdown in four straight games.
FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 100-1. Over/under wins: 6.5
Expectations: If Detroit’s defense struggles, it will likely lead to at least 10 losses for the fifth year in a row, and a second straight season under coach Dan Campbell. Hutchinson appears to be a player to build around, but there isn’t much help behind him right now. The Lions should be able to move the ball and score behind a strong offensive line in Jared Goff’s second season with the team, surrounded by an improved group of receivers, a solid duo of running backs and standout tight end T.J. Hockenson.
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