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Five Lions Questions with Pride of Detroit

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Jeremy Reisman from Pride of Detroit stops by BFTB to give us a scouting report on the Detroit Lions before they take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

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What does the Detroit Lions defense look like with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley? Will they play to play the same style?

To your second question: Yes and no. The Lions defense will still revolve around its number one goal: stopping the run. Adding Haloti Ngata will ease the pain of Suh's departure in that regards almost completely. I really don't expect the run defense to look any different this year, to be honest.

However, where the Lions may run into trouble is finding the pass rush replacement that both Suh and Fairley provided. Because of that, I would expect the Lions to blitz a lot more this year on passing downs, but I'm sure they're also hoping that defensive end Ezekiel Ansah takes a big leap this year.

Will the offense improve despite losing Reggie Bush? Is there any sign of slowing down for Calvin Johnson?

Most people around Detroit not only expect the offense to improve this year, they expect a top 10 offense in the league.

The loss of Bush is not considered much of a loss as he was as frustrating as he was electric during 2014. Add in a revamped offensive line and Ameer Abdullah, and the Lions fully expect an improvement in the run game (ranked 28th last year).

As for Calvin Johnson, if you're hoping for a down year for the 29-year old, I think you are going to be disappointed. Word out of camp is that he's healthier and quicker than he has been in years. In 2014, he had to deal with a high-ankle sprain all year. This year, the Lions shelved Johnson during the preseason to keep him in tip-top shape. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Many Chargers fans think that the team made a mistake by moving up in the first round to draft Melvin Gordon when so many talented guys were available later in the draft. With that in mind, how has Ameer Abdullah looked for the Lions?

It's hard to say with Abdullah only getting 13 touches in the preseason, but he sure made an impact in the first preseason game. His 45-yard scamper early in the game was enough for Lions fans to start doing backflips and even draw some Barry Sanders comparisons.

I'm excited for the guy, but I'm not expecting the world right away. Joique Bell is still the number one back, and Abdullah will probably take some time to find his place in the offense. But that first cut of his is so nasty that I barely remember the name Reggie Bush.

Matt Stafford ranked 22nd among starters by QBR last year, 18th the year before, and 14th in 2012. Is there anyone who thinks the Stafford is regressing? Do Lions fans still have hope that he could improve enough to become 'elite'?

I don't think anyone believes Stafford is regressing, but there is certainly a group of people that think he has reached his full potential. Many think Stafford is, and always was, nothing better than a slightly above-average quarterback. That being said, there's also a vocal group that thinks this is the year Stafford puts it all together. The man is still only 27 years old, and this is his second year in Joe Lombardi's new offense.

I'm somewhere in the middle. It seems like every year Lions fans create an excuse for why Stafford hasn't become the elite guy they were promised. That being said, Stafford looked a lot more comfortable behind center this preseason, and that was without Calvin Johnson.

Basically, what I think the Lions have in Stafford is a guy who has such a good arm that he'll make your jaw drop at least once a game, but he will also frustrate you with accuracy issues and the occasional lapse in judgement. He's not elite, but he should probably round out most top 10 quarterbacks lists.

What are your overall thoughts for the Lions this season? Will they finally dethrone the Packers atop the NFC North?

This is one of those seasons that can go either way, and where the Lions end up completely relies on the unknowns on both lines.

The offense line will feature a new, young faces, but different does not always equal better. The offensive line was bad last year, but we don't know if this group of first, second and third-year players is going to come in and suddenly work miracles.

On the defensive line, the Lions did well in replacing Suh and Fairley with Ngata and Tyrunn Walker, but beyond those guys there is a big question mark. Detroit also lost solid depth in C.J. Mosely, and it's unclear who will step up when Ngata needs a rest.

All that being said, I think those are too many question marks to feel confident that the Lions will take down the Green Bay Rodgers. They could match their win total of 11 from last year, or they could drop back down to 8-8.