I posted a picture of former Detroit Lions GM and current bad ESPN analyst, Matt Millen, to show the Lions fans how far they have come. They suffered for a long time and can now reap the rewards of sticking with their team…and hopefully beat all the bandwagon fans off with old Buick LaCrosse bumpers.
In 2011, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson had career years on the offensive side and Ndamukong Suh bought the commish a new house with all of his fines. The Lions finally have playmakers on both sides of the ball, but with the Packers and Bears looking like playoff teams, they will have to be perfect to win the NFC North.
Can Detroit be able to run the ball or will Stafford need to pass for 6,000 yards to make the playoffs? Will the entire team get DUIs by the end of the season? Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Detroit Lions.
2011 Win/Loss Record: 10-6
Key Additions: CB Jacob Lacey, S Sean Jones, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles, QB Kellen Moore, CB Dwight Bentley, LB Ronnell Lewis and LB Tahir Whitehead.
Key Losses: CB Eric Wright, LB Bobby Carpenter and QB Drew Stanton.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC South and NFC West
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Ryan Broyles – After the draft, I listed Mikel Leshoure as the fantasy sleeper on the Lions…then he found himself in a lot of trouble this off-season. He is currently awaiting his punishment from the commissioner’s office. There will be a running back emerge as their featured back, but it’s messy at the moment. Jahvid Best, Keiland Williams or Kevin Smith could surpass Leshoure during his suspension, but it’s too early to tell. What I do know at the moment is that Stafford will throw the ball A LOT in 2012. Johnson will be getting double-teamed non-stop, so receivers will be open. Broyles is coming off a knee injury, but he has elite hands. He could fill the possession receiver role and end up with a double-digit reception game by the end of the season.
Team Analysis: Detroit will be a tired team by year’s end. The NFC North will arguably be the toughest division in the NFL. They jumped out of the gate hot in 2011, but couldn’t beat elite teams down the stretch. With experience being one of their faults, the young team has another year under their belt. Stafford is due for another MVP-type season, Calvin Johnson is still a freak receiver, and Suh will still be Suh, even though he has been fined a gazillion dollars for excessive hits. The running game will be the biggest issue for Detroit. It could all play itself out, since teams will be playing their safetys back. The Lions should be able to sneak some runs in for decent gains. Green Bay, Chicago, and Detroit will all have fantastic years this season. I predict that all three will win at least eleven games (poor Minnesota). This is Detroit’s year to finally win the NFC North.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 (Prediction: OVER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 13-3