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Eagles Schedule 2016 Preview: Detroit Lions

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Get to know the Eagles' opponents.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Our game-by-game preview of the Eagles' 2016 schedule continues with Philadelphia's Week 5 opponent: the Detroit Lions. (Click here for the Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - previews.)

The last time these two teams met was on Thanksgiving last season. As if Eagles fans could forget, the Lions killed the Birds by a final score of 45-14. The good news for the Eagles is they won't have to deal with Calvin Johnson this time around. Johnson burned the Birds (and more specifically, Eric Rowe) for three touchdowns and 93 yards on eight receptions last year. The all-star receiver retired this offseason.

It'll be interesting to see how the Lions start off this season. In 2015, the Lions started 1-7 before finishing the second half of the season with a 6-2 record. Was that late season success a fluke or a sign of things to come?

Here’s a more in-depth look at the Lions from our SB Nation writers over at Pride of Detroit.

Notable free agent additions:

WR Marvin Jones, OT Geoff Schwartz, DB Tavon Wilson, DE Wallace Gilberry, RB Stevan Ridley, SS Rafael Bush

Notable free agent departures:

WR Calvin Johnson (retirement), SS Isa Abdul-Quddus, RB Joique Bell, DE Jason Jones


Received LB Jon Bostic for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

1st round - OT - Taylor Decker (expected to start at left tackle)
2nd round - DT - A'Shawn Robinson (rotational player)
3rd round - C - Graham Glasgow - not currently slated as the starting center, but could take over sometime during the 2016 season.
4th round - SS - Miles Killebrew - Also not slated to be the starter, but Lions are weak at the position, so Killebrew could take over, or at least get some snaps during the season.

Biggest offseason addition:

WR - Marvin Jones. With Calvin Johnson's retirement, the Lions' No. 1 priority was to find a compliment to Golden Tate. The Lions wasted no time in grabbing Jones, signing him within a day of Johnson's retirement announcement. Taylor Decker is an honorable mention here, as the Lions' offensive line was atrocious in 2015.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

Will the emphasis on improving the offensive line pay off in 2016? The Lions offense hasn't been good in a while, but the Lions spent three of their first five draft picks on offensive linemen in 2016. It appears the Lions will be moving former left tackle Riley Reiff to the right side, while plugging in first-round draft pick Taylor Decker on the left. The Lions desperately need to get a running game going, and the shuffling of the offensive line could potentially help.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

Is DeAndre Levy fully healthy, and if so, will his return improve the defense to its 2014 level of play? Levy had a mysterious hip injury in 2015, and while it appears he was fully healthy during OTAs and minicamp, still very little is known about the injury and his current health.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

RB Ameer Abdullah - Had shoulder surgery in January, is expected to be ready for training camp.

TE Brandon Pettigrew - Tore his ACL in December. Did not participate in OTAs. Probably headed for PUP.

RB Stevan Ridley - Limited participation in OTAs; injury undisclosed, severity unknown

WR Corey Fuller - Underwent foot surgery in early June. Could cause him to miss the cut.