2. DE Aidan Hutchinson
Kyle Brandt of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" went a little off the grid to name Hutchinson as his pick for Defensive Player of the Year this year, with a prediction of a big game (two sacks) against the Chiefs to put him on that track.
The Lions' effort to get pressure on Mahomes Thursday starts with Hutchinson. Winning his one-on-ones against two lackluster Chiefs' offensive tackles is one thing, but he will give his teammates favorable one-on-ones too since he'll surely draw a good dose of double-teams.
Hutchinson is lined up for a breakthrough second season. It has to literally start with a big performance against Kansas City.
1. QB Jared Goff
Goff comes into the new season with the fifth-longest streak of pass attempts without an interception in league history (324), with a chance to break into the top-3 with a clean game against the Chiefs
Of course a "clean game" for Goff goes beyond interceptions. When there's pressure around him, which should be eased greatly by Chris Jones' absence on Thursday night, he is susceptible to sack-fumbles and making throws that aren't ideal even if they're completed.
Goff has to strike a balance between cutting it loose and not making mistakes, in most every game and most definitely in a potential shootout against the Chiefs. He has not been one to fear moments and tough environments, setting performance aside, but his first visit to Arrowhead will be an all-around test he has to pass with flying colors if the Lions will have any chance to pull the upset.