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Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by San Diego Chargers defensive end Vaughn Martin (92) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by San Diego Chargers defensive end Vaughn Martin (92) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Well the summer is over and meaningful football is about to be played once more. So once more it is time to start picking the games, however as we are only following six teams the three games that will be picked will come from that pool. However this is good news for you all Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots fans especially once you guys start playing division games. In the meantime however the first game that we will take a look at is the Detroit Lions at the San Diego Chargers.
The Detroit Lions begin the season on the road. This should be particularly troubling since Matt Stafford is 0-18 against teams with a winning record on the road. No you don’t have to tell me that technically the Chargers are 0-0 and therefore Stafford should have a fair shot against them. The Chargers were 9-7 last season hence the concern. Furthermore Ndamukong Suh is gone as well as Nick Fairley. As I’ve said before the loss of Fairley is really not that big of deal especially since the Lions had the 2nd overall ranked defense without him for half a season. Suh on the other hand is a big loss, but as we’ve said before I believe that Haloti Ngata is terrific replacement and Tyrunn Walker despite limited snaps with the Saints last season got quality pressure on the quarterback on those snaps. I think as the Lions head into their second season in Joe Lombardi’s offense with a healthy Calvin Johnson and a legitimate 3 and 4 receiver, this offense should be more explosive than it was last year.
The San Diego Chargers had one of the worst rushing offenses in the league last season. Melvin Gordon at least initially will not be the answer. Phillip Rivers is a dangerous quarterback but with a one dimensional offense it could lead to similar problems that they had one season ago. The Chargers defense looked good in the pre-season and if they can get to the quarterback Matt Stafford has been known to regress under pressure. But if their pass rush woes continue it will be a very long day for the young Chargers secondary.
The Key Players in this game are for the Chargers is Ladarius Green. With Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games Green needs to establish himself over the middle if he can force the Lions to commit a safety to covering him, he can open things up downfield for Rivers and probably also in the screen game. For the Lions it is DeAndre Levy if Levy continues to play at the high level that he has been playing at over the last couple of seasons he should prove to a problem that I don’t think the Chargers can handle right now.
The Chargers are 3 point favorites at home. The O/U on the game is 46. I know Stafford has never beaten a team with a winning record on the road look for him to do it this week. I think the Lions win this outright take the points and the over.
Final Score: Detroit Lions 28 San Diego Chargers 24

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