During the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."
20man: Confident. That's the word I've used to describe how quarterback Jared Goff has looked through the offseason and training camp.
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson built this offense around Goff, using concepts Goff likes and has been successful doing in the past. There are also staples Johnson believes in, and Goff has been receptive with it all. Goff had a say every step of the way and because of that, Goff's really taken ownership of this offense and it's shown. I thought he had a really strong camp.
The Lions upgraded their receiver corps this offseason, they have one of the better offensive lines in football (despite the current injury situation), they have a Pro Bowl tight end in T.J. Hockenson, and an explosive back in D’Andre Swift, who is also a big part of the passing game. The Lions have put Goff in a position to be successful, and he's playing with a ton of confidence heading into Sunday's game against the Eagles.
From what I've watched of Goff the second half of last season and during this year's camp, I'd be surprised if he didn't play well Sunday and in subsequent weeks.
20man: We'll know for certain 90 minutes before kickoff, but I don't think it's a good sign he didn't practice Thursday after showing up on Wednesday's practice report as limited. We'll just have to see how the week goes. He's not a guy that needs to practice to play, so this might truly be a game-time decision. The game designation on Friday's injury report will be key, but I'm not overly optimistic. If he doesn't play, it's nice to have such a steady backup in Evan Brown.
20man: The Eagles' defense was top 10 in the league last year and got better on paper with the additions of Haason Reddick, James Bradberry C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.
I expect Gardner-Johnson to match up with Hockenson a lot. Wide receivers DJ Chark and Josh Reynolds have tough matchups against Darius Slay and Bradberry.
I think this is more of an Amon-Ra St. Brown and Swift game. I like the matchup with St. Brown in the slot against nickel corner Avonte Maddox. Swift is a matchup nightmare, and Johnson will attempt to get him into space in one-on-one matchups with linebackers whenever he can. I see a heavy dose of St. Brown and Swift Sunday.
20man: They are really one in the same. The Eagles rushed for 236 yards and four touchdowns last year against the Lions and Hurts went for 71 of those on just seven attempts. The Eagles ran for at least 100 yards in 15 contests last year, the most in the NFL. From Weeks 8-15, they rushed for 175 yards in seven straight games, becoming the first team since the 1985 Bears to do that. I don't think you can focus on just the running backs or just Hurts, it's going to take a total team effort.
Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said Thursday he thinks the defense is better prepared to stop the run with the scheme and technique changes they've made, and the added talent from players like rookie Aidan Hutchinson. It will be a great test for Glenn and Co. to see if they can be better against the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL last year.
20man: Yeah, the preseason is pretty basic, and the Lions weren't going to show off a lot of their deep passing attack. But the rapport between Chark and Goff was there all camp, and he's going into Week 1 as the starting "X" receiver, with the expectation he'll get some shots down the field, especially if the Eagles leave him one-on-one down the field against Slay or Bradberry.
I was also impressed with Chark's route running on the short and intermediate parts of the field as well. He came in as a known deep threat with his length and speed, but he's got a nice all-around game and I'd expect him and Goff to test the waters a couple times when the coverage dictates it.
20man: Rookie cornerback Chase Lucas got a little love on the last episode of Hard Knocks, but he's impressed coaches enough to keep him on the 53-man roster over last year's starter in the nickel, AJ Parker.
Lucas, a seventh-round draft choice this year, is tough and scrappy. He's got that grit Dan Campbell loves. He's got upside the Lions want to work with.
20man: It's not a matter of if injuries are going to happen in the NFL, but when. That's just the reality of this league. That's why offensive line coach Hank Fraley has preached depth every time we talk to him. The Lions have options at right guard with Big V out. Tommy Kraemer would have been the simple No. 1 plug and play option, but he's dealing with a back injury and has missed practice this week.
Next up for me is either Brown or Logan Stenberg, in that order. Brown is cross-trained to play guard and played well last year when given the opportunity at center.
Stenberg made the 53 for a reason. Some good players at other positions of need were cut because the team viewed him as one of their best 53, and the team was dealing with injuries there. Before I start moving tackles to guard and all that, I would put the guard who made the roster in at guard and see what he can do.
20man: This is a more talented football team than the one that started last year. Offensively, they should be pretty good. They have weapons at every skill position, a good offensive line and a veteran quarterback with a track record of success in this league.
To me, the Lions will go as far as a hopefully improved defense can take them. They have to be better in every level on that side of the ball.
I know the expectations are high in the building, and they should be. They are in Year two of this regime and the roster is improved.
I can only speak for myself, but my expectation is for this team to be playing meaningful games in December. Going from three wins to in the mix in the NFC playoff picture in December is a realistic expectation.
20man: I'm rather bullish on Swift and his potential for a breakout third season. I love the fact that he set the goal for himself of rushing for 1,000 yards and catching 1,000 yards worth of passes.
I've got Swift totaling over 1,500 scrimmage yards and being a huge weapon in both the run and pass aspects of the offense.
20man: I wouldn't look too deeply into the preseason. They are pretty basic with their schemes. Glenn still wants to be pretty multiple, but the base is a 4-3 with the third SAM LB having the ability to play on or off the ball. Hutchinson and Harris on edge, though Harris likes to rush more from a two-point stance than a traditional three-point.
We have to remember that defenses are in sub package (nickel, dime, etc..) more than 70 percent of the time, so base is something they use maybe a third of the game anyways.