Detroit Lions Stay Back Of the Class: Growing Up NFC North

Francisco E. VelazquezCorrespondent IMay 28, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Detroit Lions looses the ball after being tackled by Jason Hunter #57 and Brady Poppinga #51 of the Green Bay Packers on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

How would you feel if, as a teen, you had a terrible year last year? Nothing seemed to work out right. You were failing your classes, losing your jobs, car, girlfriend, and even the nerds were bullying you around.

But then, you lifted weights all summer, pulling cardio as hard as Napoleon Dynamite listening to Jamiroquai. You had a make-over. You found a new job that pays better, which allowed you to buy a relatively newer car. Heck, you even bought a new wardrobe.

Then, you came back only to realize that your three main bullies made drastic changes as well. They look better too. They have mustaches now.

For the Lions, such is reality.

The Bears got a newer, shinier car—a Cutler Cutlass.

The Packers defense found a newer, trendier look—something they aren't used to, but their optimism (confidence) is getting them praise.

The Vikings didn’t do too much, but were the biggest bully last year anyway. This year, they only grew more experienced at bullying you around.

How would that feel, especially if you want to win homecoming?

Chicago filled some key holes in adding depth to their line and obtaining a franchise quarterback. Though many have written off the receiver acquisitions, no one can really say if they are capable or not.

Only Rashied Davis and Brandon Lloyd have spent more than three years at receiver. With four rookies looking for contracts, one or two—including Juaquin Iglesias—could break out and provide immediately. Yet the problem here is the unknown. But I’ve stated that I’ll reserve my judgment until the year ends.

On defense, Head Coach Lovie Smith is taking the reins on an aging defense. Still, this is one of the best defenses in the league and Briggs is hitting his prime. The Bears are also currently speaking to free agent linebacker, Tisa Pinoisamoa—who has a relationship with Lovie from his time in St. Louis—to sit opposite of Briggs as the other on the outside.

Holes in the secondary are still there, but the Bears offense should help out the wear and tear on that end. So, the Bears aren’t perfect, but they are advancing in the popularity contest—they just might win homecoming.

Meanwhile, the Packers started their rebound last year with a surprising year from Aaron Rodgers. The offense was stellar but the defense was not recognizable in Green Bay. They’re kinda’ used to getting the girls.

However, the addition of BJ Raji was a good one. Changing to a 3-4 scheme is not familiar, but the new digs are catching attention.

The main bully from last year, Minnesota didn’t retool too much, but made some nice acquisitions to keep themselves in contention for giving you the worst time. The addition of Percy Harvin may or may not be a good thing. Still, Adrian Peterson is an absolute monster. And he isn’t going anywhere.

Sure, you’re optimistic. The sun is shining in a new era, but the road is long, my friend. And it's obvious.

It doesn’t look like you’ll be making homecoming court this year. Timing is everything. Your classmates are getting just too strong and you're just rebuilding. Any of those other three can make it, while you’ll be heading back to the gym.