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The Lions will play the Broncos at Mile High Stadium on October, 30th, 2011. (Eric Lars Bakke/DenverBroncos.com)

Week 8 Preview: Detroit At Denver

Now that the draft is over, let’s get back to our regular season game breakdowns.

Detroit may have been the league’s armpit of the NFL just a few years ago, but like the city itself, Detroit is rebuilding its character and reputation.

The Lions went 0-16 (the first team in league history to do so in the regular season) in 2008. The following year saw slight improvement in their 2-14 record. 2010 saw the team go 6-10.

The Lions are rebuilding at a very fast pace for a team that was breathing through a straw just a few years ago. The improvements have come mostly through their drafts. Two of the most high profile picks have come in the past two years when the Lions selected Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh. This year, the team picked up a great player in Nick Fairley who will be devastating next to Suh.

At one time, this game would have been looked at as a walk in the proverbial park, but the Lions are a real threat now. They may not be a threat in their division, but to other teams around the league, they could knock out a solid number of wins this year.

Offensively, the Lions ranked 23rd in rushing and 12th in passing even though Matt Stafford played just three games last season due to shoulder injuries. Shaun Hill led the team in passing and had 2,686 yards on the season. His main receiver was Calvin Johnson who is proving to be a top receiver in the league. Jahvid Best led the team in rushing with 555 yards on 171 carries, and 4 touchdowns. The Broncos will see Tony Scheffler in a different jersey for the first time since he was traded after the ’09 season.

The Lions gave up 23.1 points per game. Their rush defense was ranked 24th while their pass defense was ranked 16th, but Suh helped the team to 6th in the league in total sacks. Suh put the seal of approval on his rookie season with 66 tackles, 10 sacks, and 1 interception. The Broncos will also see former corner Alphonso Smith. Smith had a team high 5 interceptions on the year after he was traded by Josh McDaniels.

This is a must win game for the Broncos who have four of their next five games on the road, and three of their next four against divisional opponents.

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Tags: Alphonso Smith Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Ndamakong Suh Nick Fairley Tony Scheffler

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