Detroit Lions offer up World Cup selections

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The most-watched sporting event in the most popular sport in the world begins Thursday and in the United States, there will be potentially more attention than ever paid to the World Cup in Brazil.

That includes some of the athletes in the most popular sport in the United States -- the NFL. Ndamukong Suh was one of the Nike athletes that modeled the jerseys the Americans will wear in South America throughout the competition. Last season, when the World Cup draw was announced, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah made a not-so-bold prediction: His home country, Ghana, would beat the United States again when the teams play in their Group G opener Monday.

In the spirit of the summer and the World Cup, a bunch of Detroit Lions were willing to offer their selections for either who they felt would win the World Cup -- or at least who they wanted to win. (And for what it's worth, when I tried to talk to Ansah about the World Cup on Monday, he declined talking to the media about anything.)

Ansah gave his opinion earlier. Here are some others from the Lions -- including some South American love from Calvin Johnson. And if you missed it, Barry Sanders is in a commercial promoting the World Cup on ESPN, one of many saying I Believe We Will Win. Watch the video. It's pretty awesome.

This isn't a true in-season Question of the Week, but to view prior Questions of the Week from the 2013 season, check out this link.

WR Calvin Johnson: "Phew, that's tough. I like Argentina. I've always liked them since '06. I've been playing with them in the World Cup since '06. Other than that, always like to see the States make it."

So who wins?

CJ: "I would say Argentina."

LB Stephen Tulloch: "I want to say USA but Brazil's strong. Italy's strong. There's good competition. I like Brazil. I've always been a Brazil fan. Ronaldo back in the day. I've just always been a fan of them so I'll see what they can do."

WR Ryan Broyles: "I don't even watch it enough, but my favorite team (club) is Real Madrid. So I'd go with Spain then. They've got Barcelona. They've got Real Madrid. There are players from those teams and those are the teams I play with in FIFA so I really don't branch out outside of that. So I'm just playing favoritism. You know what I mean. Guys that I know that I play with. I would say USA, but man, it's tough for them."

WR Kris Durham: "Who do you think I think is going to win? I'm going USA. Yes. Why would I not go for them? That's the real question. You've got to go for the home country. Obviously there's some good countries around there, but I don't know enough about soccer. I just go for the home country."

P Sam Martin: "You know what I'm supposed to say. US, baby. That's all I care about. For real. I mean, obviously you've got the powerhouses, Spain, Brazil. But the US has got a good team this year. I'm a huge fan, dude. I love the World Cup. I look forward to it every time it comes around and I'm not going to miss a US game. You've got to believe. You've got to believe. Period."

K Nate Freese: "I'd like to say the US but even their head coach says [no]. I like Brazil, though. Being at home, they've got some pretty great players on the team."

K Giorgio Tavecchio: "Either Italy or the United States. That's my two countries. I can't pick one. I hope Italy and the United States make it to the final, let's put it that way."

But who do you think will win?

Tavecchio: "I don't know. There's a lot of great teams. Brazil I think is the favorite. They are at home. I've heard them defined as a mixture of steel and silk. Very talented, very physical and very fast paced. But if Italy gets past the first round, they are always dangerous. They find a way of making it happen in the important games."

OL Rodney Austin: "USA."

To win? Why?

Austin: "That's where we're from. USA all the way."

C Dominic Raiola: "USA."

QB Dan Orlovsky: "I will [watch], for sure. I don't know much about soccer. I can never against the United States, though. If that's a dumb pick, I'm OK with that. After watching 'Lone Survivor,' I can't."

TE Brandon Pettigrew: "I don't even know who is in it. Thirty-two countries, I had no idea. Hopefully the US. I really don't watch soccer. Don't really know anything about it, but I'd definitely go for the atmosphere."