From where I sit, the Detroit Lions have one of the most talented rosters in the National Football League and it frustrates the heck out of me when they consistently flop year in and year out. Not because I'm a fan of their team, but because I pick them to win every week and they dissapoint, then I switch and pick them to lose and then they show and win. Nothing is more irratating than unpredictability.
19. Detroit Lions (2013 Record: 7-9)
For a while, despite the frustration of the Jekll and Hyde aspect of how this team wins and loses games, it seemed the Lions were on the cusp of taking control of the division and marching straight into the playoffs. Then around Week 11 sitting at 6-3 after beating the Chicago Bears on the road, the team abruptly quit on each other and the coaching staff, losing six of their final seven games to finish the season 7-9.
Key Losses: Willie Young, Shaun Hill, Nate Burleson, Jason Fox, Louis Delmas
Key Acquisitions: Golden Tate, James Ihedigbo, Darryl Tapp, Cassius Vaughn, Dan Orlovsky
As much as I think Demaryius Thomas, aka Optimus Prime, is a Top 3 wide receiver in the NFL, I will not waiver from my belief Megatron, aka Calvin Johnson, is clearly the best wide receiver in the league. With a banged up knee that needed draining every week and a broken pinkie, he still amassed as many catches and yards as Demaryius Thomas did last season. He'll be back healthy in 2014 and add him to the rest of the weapons on that potent offense and you have potential for a great season and playoff run.
The 2014 Lions schedule happens to be somewhat forgiving, but historically this team seems to play up or down to its opponents, which really makes me hesitant to give them a better pre-season ranking than I did at #15. As a group, the rankings got pushed all the way down to an average of 19th. They face some "cup cakes", but also some "contenders" this season and I'm going to go with Vegas on this one and take the even for eight wins.
Projected Record: 8-8
Kyle: I’m high on life, and high on the Lions.
Topher: I love hearing people rave about Matt Stafford but he’s produced one winning season in his career despite having some serious talent around him. Now they get a new head coach who really isn’t an upgrade in Jim Caldwell and don’t add much in terms of upgrades on either side of the ball in the draft. It doesn’t help they face the Packers, and more talented Chicago team and an retooled (and better coached) Vikings team. They won’t suck, but they won’t do much either.
Jon: Megatron is always fun to watch and Reggie Bush is still an explosive running back. The Lions may surprise in 2014.
Jacob: The Lions added two more big weapons for Matt Stafford in free agency (Golden Tate) and the draft (Eric Ebron). Other than Tate, the Lions best signing in the off-season was S James Ihedigbo; other than that, the Lions under-whelmed in free agency. The Packers and Bears will compete for the first spot in the NFC North, while the Lions will yet again be stuck competing for second or third. 8-10 wins.
Pete: They have the pieces there, they just need to stop being the Detroit Lions in order to have success. Even if they can somehow get out of their own way, they still have Green Bay and Chicago poised to take up 2 playoff spots. Can they be like the AFC West and occupy 3 seats to the playoffs? Time will tell.
Laurie: For Calvin Johnson’s sake, I hope the new additions on offense give him a supporting cast, if not for the whole season, just on Thanksgiving Day - the only day I ever watch the Lions play. And since this year it’s against Jay Cutler and the Bears...well, I’m definitely going to be pulling for Stafford, Johnson, Tate and Ebron to light their offense on fire.