Skip to main content

Lions offseason questions: Individual matchups to watch

As training camp approaches, it's only natural to start looking ahead to the 2020 NFL season and future opponents.

We already talked about the games we're looking forward to most, but what about matchups?

Which individual matchup are you looking forward to most this season?

I asked the crew, and here's what they had to say:

Tim Twentyman: Running back Christian McCaffrey vs. Lions' defense

Week 11 in Carolina the Lions play Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey, who is one of my favorite players to watch. McCaffrey totaled 1,387 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns last season and added 1,005 receiving yards with four more scores. He's the ultimate do-it-all weapon in this league at the running back position.

McCaffrey totaled at least 100 scrimmage yards in 13 games last season. He had at least 150 total yards in nine games and reached 200 total yards twice. What will the Lions do to try and contain him? Who will they match him up with in the passing game? That will be an important matchup in late November as the Lions get ready for the stretch run.

Mike O'Hara: Cornerback Desmond Trufant vs. wide receiver Julio Jones

It will be a highlight matchup any time Detroit Lions cornerback Desmond Trufant goes head-to-head against receiver Julio Jones in a Week 2 road game against the Falcons.

Trufant often practiced against Jones in seven NFL seasons with the Falcons before signing with the Lions this year. Practice tempo is not the same as a real game, but Trufant experienced what it's like to cover a receiver many consider the NFL's best at his position.

Trufant, a 2013 first-round draft pick by Atlanta, made the 2015 Pro Bowl. He saw some amazing performances from Jones, a six-time Pro Bowler whose size (6-3, 222) and overall skill level makes him tough to cover.

Jones has gone over the 1,000-yard receiving mark the last six seasons. In 2015 he led the league with 136 catches for 1,871 receiving yards, second most in NFL history to retired Detroit Lion great Calvin Jonson's 1,964 in 2012.

For Trufant – and everyone in the Lions' secondary – covering Jones in a regular-season game is as real as it gets.

Tori Petry: Quarterback Philip Rivers vs. Lions secondary

We all know Philip Rivers can sling it, and the Lions secondary is going to look a lot different this season with Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant and Duron Harmon joining the mix.

It will be bizarre to see Rivers in a Colts jersey, but I'm interested to see how the two face off against each other in Week 8 once both have had some time to settle into their new roles.

Editor's Pick: Defensive end Chase Young vs. Lions offensive line

There were some optimistic Lions fans this offseason who hoped talented edge rusher Chase Young would fall to the Lions at pick No. 3 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Instead, Washington selected Young second overall, and the Lions will face him Week 10 at Ford Field.

The Lions offensive line went through a bit of a reshuffle this offseason, so it should be a good matchup.