The Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers face off to start off the NFL season. The Lions bring with them an explosive offense with Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. For the Chargers, Philip Rivers is back at quarterback but will be missing his favorite target tight end Antonio Gates who is suspended for the first four games of the season.
One of the more intriguing storylines heading into Sunday’s matchup is the NFL debut of rookie running backs Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah. The Chargers drafted Gordon with the 15th overall selection in the first round while the Lions selected Abdullah with the 54th selection of the second round. It is unclear how much each team will utilize their new running back but the first game should give a good indication of each team’s strategy going forward.
Here are all the details of the opener between the Lions and Chargers:
Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers
Saturday September 13th, 4:05 PM ET/1:05 PM PT
Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, California
Chargers by 2.5 (Line is according to OddsShark and is subject to change.)
The Chargers and Lions last faced each other on Christmas Eve of 2011. The Lions won the home game 38-11. Matthew Stafford threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Detroit Lions Preview
The Lions have had some changes to their formerly stout defensive line. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley signed with other teams in free agency. While Detroit acquired Haloti Ngata in a trade from Baltimore, the team still enters the season with questions surrounding how the defensive line will do with so much turnover.
The offensive core is back and will continue to be the strength of the team. The Lions hope Calvin Johnson can stay healthy. If so, it would be the first full season Johnson and Tate played together at receiver. Tate signed with the Lions before last season, but Johnson missed time due to injuries.
San Diego Chargers Preview
The Chargers signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson over the offseason. Johnson and Rivers have played well together in the preseason. Expect him to be utilized often early in the season as Antonio Gates serves his four game suspension. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon has had a slow preseason, and it is unknown how the team will decide to distribute the carries between their running backs.
Detroit Lions 34, San Diego Chargers 31
Despite questions on defense, the Lions will continue to have a high powered offense that is strengthened even more with the addition of rookie running back Ameer Abdullah. It will be too much for the Chargers to contain. Expect this to be a high scoring game with the Lions picking up an early road win.
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