The Detroit Lions follow a long trip west to face the Arizona Cardinals with a trip east to take on the New England Patriots. The week 12 meeting in late November means the weather is going to be very different in Foxboro than it is in the desert.
To get a feel for the Patriots side of preparations for the 2014 season, I got together with Cyrus Geller of Musket Fire for a Q&A. Here are my questions followed by his answers.
1) How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?
"I really love what the Pats did this offseason. Everybody thinks that they didn’t give Brady the necessary weapons, but that is not necessarily true. Bill Belichick gave him a defense, and a damn good one too. Adding Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Dominique Easley instantly vaults this group to the top of the league, which will serve Brady well."
2) Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2014 and why?
"Has to be Dominique Easley. This kid has so much talent, I think he could really take this league by storm. Yes, he is coming off of a pair of major knee injuries, but if he is recovering as expected, he will provide that explosive pass rush from the middle of the New England defensive line that they have been lacking for quite some time."
3) What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?
"Who will emerge as the third option in the receiving corps behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Aaron Dobson is the most talented second-year man they have, and if he has developed over the offseason, he should be able to become that vertical threat that Tom Brady desperately needs."
4) What are your expectations for the team in 2014?
"Way too high, I can tell you that. Unless they are hit with the ridiculous injury bug of 2013, this offense and defense should be among the best in the NFL this year. Specifically the defense. Aside from Seattle, they may have the best secondary in football, and a fine front seven as well. I think a 13 win season is not out of the question, and anything is possible in the playoffs with Tom Brady."
5) Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?
"A win. The Pats are lucky they get Detroit in Foxboro, but even if this game were on the road, I think they would pull out the W. The combination of Revis and Browner will give Calvin Johnson all he can handle, and Brady will tear up the Lions’ secondary all day long."