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Tim Twentyman takes a look at the top 20 players the Lions will face this season.

Tim Twentyman takes a look at the top 20 players the Lions will face this season.
The Detroit Lions will face some of the league’s premier players in 2016.

Here’s my list of the Top 20 players the Lions will face this upcoming season:

1. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston, Week 8

The two-time reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has recorded at least 17.5 sacks in three of the last four seasons.

2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay, Weeks 3 & 17

He’s simply the best quarterback in the game today. He’s thrown for 69 touchdowns and 13 interceptions the last two seasons combined.
3. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles, Week 6

In just his third season, Donald has quickly emerged as one of the best interior defenders in the league. He recorded 69 tackles and 11 sacks last season.

4. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota, Weeks 9 & 12

The league’s leading rusher last season (1,485 yards) combined for 302 all-purpose yards in two wins over Detroit in 2015.

5. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants, Week 15

All Beckham Jr. has done his first two seasons in the league is catch 187 passes for 2,755 yards with 25 touchdowns and earn a Pro Bowl nod each year.

6. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans, Week 13

He’ll go down as one of the most accurate and efficient passers in NFL history. He’s completed at least 68 percent of his passes for at least 4,800 yards and 32 touchdowns in each of his last three seasons.

7. Tyron Smith, T, Dallas, Week 16

He’s become the gold standard at left tackle and he’s only 25 years old. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons and has been named All-Pro the last two years. He’s allowed just nine sacks in 48 games the last three seasons.

8. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles, Week 6

Gurley averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 13 games as a rookie coming off an ACL injury. He rushed for 140 yards and two scores in a win over Detroit last year.

9. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas, Week 16

Bryant missed seven games last season due to a foot injury, but when he played in all 16 games the three previous seasons he averaged 91 catches, 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns.

10. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis, Week 1

Don’t be fooled by last season’s injury-plagued numbers. He’s still one of the most gifted young passers in the NFL and is capable of putting a team on his back and carrying them to a win.

11. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Weeks 3 & 17

When healthy, he and Rodgers form one of the best deep-threat duos in the game today. Nelson has averaged at least 15.2 yards per catch from 2011-14 and had 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014. He missed all of 2015 with an ACL injury.

12. Trent Williams, T, Washington, Week 7

The big left tackle has made the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons. He allowed just four sacks all of last season.

13. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston, Week 8

Hopkins emerged as one of the best receiving options in the game last season after catching 111 passes for 1,521 yards with 11 touchdowns. Just imagine how good he can be if Houston has solved its quarterback problems with the signing of Brock Osweiler.

14. Jason Peters, T, Philadelphia, Week 5

This eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro is still getting it done at an elite level. He’s one of the best run-blocking left tackles in the game.

15. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay, Weeks 3 & 17

The six-time Pro Bowler will move back to his more natural outside linebacker position this fall where he’s recorded at least 10.0 sacks four times in his career.

16. Zack Martin, G, Dallas, Week 16

A Pro Bowler in each of his first two seasons in the league, Martin has allowed a grand total of two sacks and four quarterback hurries in 32 regular season games.

17. Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota, Weeks 9 & 12

Smith is the kind of safety defensive coordinators love because he can do it all. Cover, rush the quarterback or stop the run, he’s a jack-of-all-trades.

18. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville, Week 11

He’s emerged as the No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars and a big-play threat (17.5 average) at the position. He caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

19. Fletcher Cox, DE, Philadelphia, Week 5

Cox will benefit from the return to a 4-3 defense under former Lions coach and current Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Cox made his first Pro Bowl last season after recording 71 tackles, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

20. Anthony Barr, LB, Minnesota, Weeks 9 & 12

Barr is quickly becoming one of the more versatile linebackers in the NFL in Mike Zimmer’s defense. He had 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception in 14 games last season.

This is republished content; used to keep the people of Detroit, Michigan informed on Local Michigan News.

Original Article was written by Tim Twentyman; and originally published on http://www.detroitlions.com/

Image Credit belongs to- Bleacher Report.