14 July 2011

Detroit Lions: Play-off Bound?

Yes, the Detroit Lions have been the laughing stock of the NFL for the past few years. For those living in Michigan, we have to be having a pretty awful day to be seen wearing a Lions jersey in public. The jerseys you do see in public are of players from over a decade ago (Barry Sanders) as we are not willing to spend our hard-earned money on buying a current jersey.

We're the first to support our team after a victory, although this happens only one or two times per year, and in recent years, hasn’t happened at all. We wear paper bags at games and our best player for the past 10 years has been our kicker. And, as the video puts it, metal detectors are strategically placed at the entrances into Ford Field so that we will not kill ourselves at halftime when the score is a humiliating 0-42.

It takes much courage, dedication, and optimism to be a Lions fan; however, things are beginning to look brighter in Detroit. Last year was extremely promising for any Lions fan. Yes, I know, a 6-10 record does not seem very promising, but if you happen to be rooting for the Lions, this is leaps and bounds from the previous two years as they built a remarkable two wins in two seasons. With things starting to look up in Detroit, and the NFL season not that far away, here are my top 5 reasons why the Lions are going to make the play-offs this coming season.

The Lions Did It With Shaun Hill & Drew Stanton
1. The Lions ended the year with an impressive four game winning streak, not to mention this was with their back-up quarterback. If the NFL does finally get their heads out of their asses and make a deal, expect this momentum to carry on and plow through the NFC North like a run-away train (or Ndamukong Suh can have the same effect). Included in this four game winning streak was the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Sure, it was without Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, but come on, give the Lions credit where credit is due.

2. Matthew Stafford: if he can stay healthy, and all signs point to him not being healthy again in 2011, the Lions could be a team to be reckoned with. Even his own teammate, linebacker Zach Follet, said he is a pussy. Follet stated in reference to Stafford, "He's a china doll right now. Anytime he gets hit, he goes down". However, when healthy, Stafford puts up some impressive numbers. Last season, though he only played in three games, had 6 TD's and 1 interception. One game that especially sticks out to me was against the feisty New York Jets defense when Stafford lit them up for 240 yards passing, 2 passing TD's, and 1 rushing TD (although risky, that's some high reward numbers for any fantasy football addict).

3. Lions draft picks have become better and better and their young talent makes the future look very promising. From Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Louis Delmas, Mikel LeShoure, and Titus Young, these guys are talented enough to make any franchise realize that Detroit is back on the map in the NFL.

4. Whether it's Stafford or Hill taking the field next year, the talent, experience, size, and athleticism at the wide receiver position is enough to make an average quarterback a great one. Starting with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, and ending with rookie Titus Young, the Lions have multiple deadly weapons through the air. Let's just hope our "china doll of a quarterback" can stay healthy and put up the types of numbers he did when healthy last season. If he does, I believe the Lions wide receiver corps is on schedule for a huge break-out season.

5. The featured running back Jahvid Best and newcomer Mikel LeShoure are bound to make some noise this season. With very different styles to running the football-Best with his blazing speed (4.35 40-yard dash boasted the fastest time at last year's combine) and LeShoure with his "bruising, wear my opponent down" approach, the Lions have the personnel to compliment the passing game very nicely. Both backs are young giving Detroit a solid tandem to work with for several years down the road.

With these 5 aspects of the Lions taking the field in a few months, expect the Lions to have one of their better seasons in recent years. Take those paper bags off your heads, leave your guns at home, and don't be ashamed to spend some of your cash on a more recent Lions jersey-Detroit just might have a team worth rooting for this season.


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