A few years ago, a trip to play the Detroit Lions to open the season would have been a welcome sight for most NFL teams. Times have changed, and the St. Louis Rams draw that short straw Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season.
Sunday's game at noon features two teams associated with losing in recent history, but the 2011 Lions went 10-6 and made the playoffs for the first time this millenium, where they lost in the first round to the New Orleans Saints. Expectations remain high for a team loaded with young talent.
Meanwhile, the perpetually-rebuilding Rams haven't had a winning season since 2003 and will have to face a high-powered passing attack led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. It'll be an immediate challenge for a retooled Rams secondary that includes free-agent signee Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins.
It'll be the first Rams game of the Jeff Fisher regime. The former longtime Tennessee Titans head coach takes over a team led by third-year quarterback Sam Bradford and stalwart Steven Jackson. They hope to improve upon a league-worst 12.1 points per game from last season.
The Lions are about a touchdown favorite, but they should cover that easily. My prediction: Lions 27, Rams 13.
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