Friday, May 22, 2009

NFC North Champions: Detroit Lions?

The NFC North was arguably the worst conference in the NFL last season, thanks in large part to the Detroit Lions ability to go winless. 

The thing I love most about the NFL is any team can go from awful one year to division champions the next, see Miami Dolphins 2007 to 2008 turnaround. With careful maneuvering and an improved game plan the leagues door mat, Arizona Cardinals, working their way to a last minute loss in the grandest of all stages, the Super Bowl.

Now that the initial sadness of drafting more skill positions with high picks has worn off I feel I can honestly say I am looking forward to this upcoming season. Some of you may laugh, some know that this is what any die-heard  Lions fan says in the summer leading up to the seasons kick-off. This year is different, this year we have a game plan. This year we are sticking to it. With the recent signing of Ephraim Salaam, who has been showcased in the Super Bowl.
The Lions are continuing to get bigger, stronger, and most importantly wiser. 

If you take a look around the NFC North there seems to be an opportunity for the Lions to hit the division hard. Chicago has finally found their quarterback, and with their improved run game they should be a tough challenge. Although, the Bears forgot that they need some one to throw to. Until they can find some reliable weapons defenses will gang up on the run game which will cause Cutler to be the erratic qb that he truly is.

Last years champs, Minnesota, have been so busy chasing after Brett Farve that they forgot to get a qb. Unless Brett Farve goes to the Vikings and some how remembers how to be a team player again the Vikings will need Adrian Peterson to not only stay healthy but carry a Javon Ringer like amount of carries.

Then you have the Packers offensively could be the most explosive with Aaron Rodgers coming along and the running game always being successful. The problem I foresee is a lack of experience defensively. They are going to ask a lot from their two first round draft picks, Raji and Matthews. If they can contribute then this is the team to watch out for, if not it could be another cold and disappointing winter in Green Bay.

All in all the Lions most likely wont win the division, but Kevin Smiths' prediction that they will make the playoffs could be right on the money. The Lions have a tough but manageable schedule. Playing the Bears and Packers in their respective stadiums early could be extremely beneficial. We will know a lot about this team by their bye week in the 7th week, which is later then last year. If they can steal a win from New Orleans in the opening week they could feasible go into Solider Field with a 3-0 record. My prediction for this year will be the Detroit Lions will go 9-7, a very respectable record after last years debacle, maybe good enough for a spot in the playoffs. 

@NO- W

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