NFL Preseason Picks: Cincinnati Bengals @ Detroit Lions 2011 NFL Preseason Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions: So the Andy Dalton era looks to take off tonight in the Motor City and the Bengals seem poised to stick to their guns and move on from Carson Palmer. Dalton has looked good in training camp, thus far, and is even drawing some comparisons to a Drew Brees type of pivot. Nonetheless, the rookie sensation out of TCU has his work cut out for him trying to lead an offense that lacks firepower and depth. Locking up running back Cedric Benson was a good call on the part of Cincinnati Bengals management, the wily veteran has resurrected his career in southern Ohio and has proven to be a consistent option. With “Drew Brees” under centre and Benson carrying the load behind, the Bengals are said to have “the next Randy Moss” wide right. The acquisition of A.J. Green in this years draft was a huge move that will help ease some of the burden on Dalton’s shoulders as Green is dynamic athlete that can get himself open on any play. The Georgia product was an ACC standout and his credentials are next to none, the Bengals will forgot about 85 sooner rather then later. As with any opening preseason game, the main objective will be to give their players some game time experience and build the camaraderie that any team leans on throughout the grueling weeks of an NFL schedule.

To say the Detroit Lions are a force in the making is putting it modestly lightly. The Honolulu blue and silver will look to finally “restore the roar’ in the Motor City this season and it all starts with a healthy Matthew Stafford. The 3rd year pivot has had his first two campaigns cut short due to shoulder injuries and he has yet to live up to the billing of the Lions franchise savior. But, all indications and reports are that Stafford has worked tremendously hard with his time off and has built up more strength and muscle mass in his upper body. When Stafford has been in the lineup the Lions have been relentless on opposing defenses and can stretch the field. Another Lion that will need to stay healthy in order for any postseason aspirations is sophomore running back Jahvid Best. Best was hindered for the majority of last season with a grueling turf toe ailment, but the initial games of the season without the injury sent shockwaves throughout the entire league. Best was explosive coming out of the backfield as a runner, and also as a receiver, and he was already garnering consideration as a runaway for the offensive rookie of the year. The defensive rookie of the year, Suh, will look to build upon a stellar rookie campaign and he will look to form a formidable force with rookie Nick Fairley out of Auburn. Fairley has been out of pads since last week when he underwent surgery on his foot, but he should be back in time for the opener. The Lions have a legitimate shot of being competitive right into December this year but it all starts with getting the prep work in during the preseason.

Tonight we will recommend a play on the Lions in their preseason opener with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions went out this off-season and addressed their need for depth and role players. Arguably, the Lions first three selections in this years draft were all drafted with depth in mind. Nick Fairley would give Suh or Corey Williams a breather, Mikel Leshoure would compliment Jahvid Best, and Titus Young would fill in for Derrick Williams or whoever the third receiver will be for the Lions this year. Unfortunately, Leshoure will be missed for the entire season with an ACL injury but the Lions have afforded their starters some much-needed breaks in games. It was evident in games last season that the starters were being relied on too much and they were tiring in key moments of games (see Jets game). The Bengals are rebuilding and it should be another tough season to endure for Marvin Lewis. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be the faces of the franchise for years to come but they will need to bide their time and have management surround them with the supporting cast. We will consider the Lions taking this one at home and giving their fans something to get excited about. Cheers!

Free NFL Picks and Predictions: Detroit Lions -4

NFL Football: Cincinnati Bengals @ Detroit Lions
Date: 8/12/2011
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Vegas Odds -
Favorite: Detroit Lions -4 Total: Over/Under 35

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