Okay, I admit it—the headline was a bit misleading. The Detroit Lions will probably not be NFC Champions for the 2009 season. Some former Lions (such as Roy Williams or Jon Kitna) might make it to the season-ending game in South Florida, I suppose. But why not the current Lions?
First, 0-16. Second, they don't have the experience at some key positions. Third...0-16.
In 2008, Detroit had arguably the best receiver in the league and could barely move the ball. However, their biggest problem was one of the worst season-long defensive performances in the modern era of pro football.
The quarterback position is obviously one which warrants great scrutiny this season. The only current Lions quarterback with any legitimate experience is Daunte Culpepper, who has yet to produce even a harbinger of his former quality. The rest of the roster includes a Drew or two and...some other dude who's supposed to be good someday.
The offseason has brought some promising additions, including at least three new starters on defense. Will there be enough improvement by the Detroit Lions to make it to the Super Bowl in 2009? That's...not likely. On the other hand, no team in the history of the NFL with a record of 0-16 has ever not played in the Super Bowl the following year.