The Detroit Lions went 11-5 last season thanks to a defense that ranked near the top of almost every statistical category. Detroit was No. 1 against the run yielding just 69.3 rushing yards per game. A big part of that defense is gone now that Ndamukong Suh is now in Miami. The Lions defense is a question mark as they head into Week 1 of the 2015 season when they travel to face the San Diego Chargers. Detroit will have Ziggy Ansah, who had 7.5 sacks, and Jason Jones on the outside and they did sign veteran Haloti Ngata from Baltimore in the offseason to play inside. The linebacking corps remains the same led by DeAndre Levy and the secondary is solid. Despite having a potent offense, the questionable defense is the main reason why Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers odds have Jim Caldwell's squad posted as 3-point road underdogs while NFL predictions for week 1 over/under total are listed at 46.
The Lions defense will face one of the league’s better quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and a formidable group of receivers. Rivers threw for over 4,200 yards and 31 touchdowns last year. His top target is still veteran tight end Antonio Gates (69 receptions, 821 yards, 12 TDs). That being said, Rivers will be without the services of Gates for the first four games of the season serving a suspension from testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. A key factor to the home favorites covering the spread Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers odds will be the emergence of rookie running back Melvin Gordon. The first round pick out of Wisconsin is big, fast, shifty, and durable. He will help open up the passing game with his running ability. Gordon is also a capable receiver.
The Chargers will have to control one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL. Quarterback Matt Stafford enters his seventh season running the Lions offense that features the league’s top receiver in Calvin Johnson, a very good No. 2 WR in Golden Tate, and capable tight ends in Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew. Detroit went to the draft to get a replacement for Reggie Bush. They picked up former Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, who should pair well with Joique Bell. If the Lions defense is up to the task, Detroit should be off and running in its quest for an NFC North title. The week 1 season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers can be seen live on FOX at 4:05pm EST from Qualcomm Stadium.