The Detroit Lions are on the verge of becoming a very good team, but it all starts with getting in the winning mindset.
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Mathew Stafford stayed healthy for the first time in his career last season and his passing numbers were simply staggering. Throw in that he really just had one option at receiver and a tight end, it makes it all that much more impressive. Of course if the receiver is Calvin Johnson and the tight end is Brandon Pettigrew it goes a long way and while Nate Burleson is NFL caliber, he isn’t enough and the Lions can hope that Titus Young continues to improve and maybe Ryan Broyles turns out to be the steal of the draft. Where the Lions really suffered last year was at running back where Jahvid Best can’t stay healthy and where Mikel Leshoure was supposed to contribute right away but he never made it to the regular season.
If Leshoure stays healthy he is a big upgrade over what Detroit had at the end of last year. It will be up to the line to keep Stafford upright and the Lions used their top pick to go after Riley Reiff to improve the blocking up front.
Ndamukong Suh has brought a lot of his troubles unto himself as far as image but when it comes to playing, he is a force. Cliff Avril got the franchise tag and Kyle Vanden Bosch still can bring the heat to opposing QB’s. Steven Tulloch and DeAndre Levy are capable linebackers but they aren’t stars. The secondary was suspect last year and they didn’t do much to upgrade. The issue with the Detroit defense is the good players they have are outright stars, the others are suspect on their best days.
I am not sure Detroit has enough on this side of the ball to keep down some of the higher scoring offenses like we saw when the Saints roasted them in the second of half of their playoff game.
The Lions visit the 49ers in week two and of course play the Packers and the Bears twice but overall the schedule isn’t all that bad. The Texans are the Thanksgiving opponent which is sandwiched between two other home games against the Pack and the Colts. Detroit closes the season with two home games against the Falcons and then the Bears.
The Lions need to finally make a move this year at being the best team in the league and it all starts with starting off the season strong and winning the division.