But after a 2-4 start, following Monday night's 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears, many will question whether or not Detroit has what it takes to compete in the ultra-competitive NFC.
There are two guys that will naturally absorb most of the culpability for the Lions' regression: Head coach Jim Schwartz and quarterback Matthew Stafford. However, neither deserves blame more than the other, or any more or less than the rest of the coaching staff or players.
The Lions were formidable last season because of an elite offense that was unstoppable at times. With weapons like Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan looked the part of a genius.
How many wins will the Lions finish the 2012 season with?
The NFL is a league of adjustments, however, and with pretty much the same group of core players back this season, Linehan's offensive approach now looks lazy.
Opposing defenses are designed to stop teams from scoring. They do so by keying in on certain players and picking up on play-calling trends. Without a viable running game, Detroit's offensive attack is quite predictable—especially with Linehan still trying to get by on the pure talent of his players.
No one can question the ability of this young offense, but these guys lack direction and discipline.
While it is expected that the players, too, should know when and how to make the appropriate adjustments, the coaching staff—namely those heavily involved in the on-field activities—needs to do a better job of putting everyone in place to make the right plays.