Why Detroit Lions Are the NFL's Most Disappointing Team so Far in 2012

Chris TrapassoAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks onto the field against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Vikings defeat the Lions 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-US PRESSWIRE

The Detroit Lions, the epitome of the pass-happy, make-it-look-easy-on-offense NFL are 1-3, and are doing a marvelous job making their case as the most disappointing team in the league. 

Sure, in terms of early season disappointment in 2012, clubs like the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs come to mind, but the Lions are different.

(The Lions coach isn't suspended for the season, remember.)

With a 23-year-old quarterback fresh off a 5,000-yard season and a player of Calvin Johnson's caliber, Detroit appeared to be a team with unlimited potential that would only build on its 10-6 record in 2011. 

The Minnesota Vikings, well, they'd just be the NFC North's doormat. 

Through four games it appears to be exactly the opposite, and on Sunday, the Vikings proved they aren't laying down for any divisional opponent, regardless of star power or 2011 record.

With the Lions, it's been simple.  

No freak rash of turnovers, unthinkable gaffes by replacement officials or an injury bug outbreak. 

Last year's aerial magic has been tempered by opposing defenses scheming against Megatron and forcing Detroit's running game to beat them. 

Matthew Stafford is averaging a shade over 295 yards per game through the air, but that's now becoming irrelevant. 

Mikel Leshoure showed a glimpse of his upside in Week 3 with 100 yards on the ground against a porous Tennessee Titans team, but general inconsistency from the backfield, a certain weakness a season ago, still lingers.

The secondary is nothing to write home about, and the fearsome pass rush of 2010 isn't as intimidating anymore. 

Pointing out all of the Lions' deficiencies is one thing; realizing that those deficiencies are arising from a roster lined with talent envied by most of the league is another, more depressing thought for fans of Jim Schwartz's crew. 

Stafford's 2011 garnered the "elite" label from some, and everyone believed the future couldn't be brighter for him and the Motown club. Johnson's the most athletically gifted receiver to ever the game. 

Ndamukong Suh showed us what he's capable of in his rookie year.

All that premier skill gelled so wonderfully in 2011 en route to the team's first playoff berth since 1999. While they have three months to get back on track, at the 2012's quarter pole, there hasn't been a more disappointing club than the Detroit Lions.