INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will christen in the 2016 season on Sunday afternoon with the Detroit Lions making the trip down to Indianapolis.
Former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell enters his third season as the headman in Detroit.
The Lions elected to retain Caldwell after Detroit took a 180 in closing out last season.
Detroit won six of their last eight games following their bye week, but missed out on the playoffs after tasting the postseason the previous year.
Keeping Caldwell was the beginning of an eventful 2016 offseason for the Lions.
Franchise leading receiver Calvin Johnson abruptly retired at the age of 30, complicating things a bit for new GM Bob Quinn.
In the draft, the Lions (like the Colts) had an emphasis on bolstering their offensive line.
Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker was the first-round choice 16th overall and he will be blocking Matthew Stafford's blindside in Week One.
Decker and the Lions will be looking to improve their running game this season. They finished 32nd in that department last season.
One area that will be on the minds of those in Indianapolis this week will be how the Colts handle Detroit edge rusher Ezekiel Ansah.
The Colts will be looking for just their second season-opening victory since 2009.
*2015 Record: *7-9, 3rd in the NFC North.
*Head Coach: *Jim Caldwell, head coach (sixth season as an NFL head coach, 44-36 overall regular season, 2-3 postseason record). *2015 NFL Rankings: *Offense – Overall, 20th (346.7); Rushing, 32nd (83.4); Passing, 9th (263.3). Defense – Overall, 18th (349.6); Rushing, 19th (113.0); Passing, 14th (236.6).
2015 Leading Passer: Matthew Stafford (398-of-592 comp., 4,262 yards, 67.2. pct., 32 TDs, 13 INTs, 97.0 rating).
*2015 Leading Rusher: *Ameer Abdullah (143 carries, 597 yards, 2 TDs).
*2015 Leading Receiver: *Golden Tate (90 receptions, 813 yards, 6 TDs).
2015 Leading Sacker: Ezekiel Ansah (14.5).
2015 Turnover Breakdown: Minus 2 (20th in the NFL).
2016 NFL Draft Results: Picking two spots ahead of the Colts, the Lions took Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker, who is expected to start there from Week One. In Round Two, the Lions selected defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, a college teammate of Ryan Kelly. It was a trench heavy draft for new general manager Bob Quinn as he took a total of three offensive linemen.
*2015 Review: *It was a tale of two seasons within a season for the Lions last year. After starting 1-7, the Lions played spoiler after their bye week. Detroit closed out the season winning six of their final eight games, helping Jim Caldwell hang on for a third season with the Lions. It was a busy offseason for the Lions. New GM Bob Quinn came over from New England. Franchise-leading receiver Calvin Johnson retried at the age of 30.
Last time in Playoffs: 2014 season. Lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 24-20, in the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs.
*Last time in Super Bowl: *Never.
*Super Bowl Championships: *None.
2016 Pro Bowl Selections: DE-Ezekiel Ansah, WR-Calvin Johnson.