Well here we are, another NFL season finally begins and people like me come out of mental hibernation to watch our favorite teams in preseason and get a small preview of how the starters are looking. This is my analysis of the preseason actions of the 2008 Detroit Lions from Offense to Defense, as well as my predictions for the upcoming season.
I don't think one person would disagree with me when I say that Detroit is absolutely on the right track for their offensive game plan. More big runs would be nice, but as long as we can just make teams "think" that we may run and bring that safety down gives us a huge advantage. Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson both require double teams, and if we can perform play action effectively, which means sticking to the run game with coveted rookie RB Kevin Smith, our passing game will be incredible.
The Offensive Line still needs work, but pick up of RT Gosder Cherilus in the first round was a great start. He might not be the best pass blocker out of college, but he definantly is one of the best run blockers. The rest of the line still seems to be below league standards. Besides C Dominic Raiola, their are no proven starters.
Yes, the Detroit defense was pretty horrible last year. Giving up the most points is never a great statistic to have on your resume, but this year they have completely different secondary personnel and they look pretty dominant on the field.
With the acquisition of CB Brian Kelly and CB Leigh Bodden, our cornerback situation looks to be at ease. Also, SS Dwight Smith will help FS Gerald Alexander have another productive season. ROLB Ernie Sims is an all out beast who has lived up to every expectation, and he is supposed to bursh off onto rookie MLB Jordon Dizon, who should eventually become the starter, pushing MLB Paris Lenon to the LOLB position over LOLB Alex Lewis. Dizon is said to have the work ethic and speed that Rod Marenelli loves to see in his LB core.
The Defensive Line is coming along fine, with the pick up of DT Chartric Darby. He will help the younger players by showing by example. He is a proven Super Bowl caliber player. Also with DE Dewayne White and DT Cory Redding on the line, expect this line to get pressure often. Maybe not a lot of sacks, but a lot of pressure in the pass game and penetration in the running game.
NFC North Ranking : 2nd
I know, second in the NFC seems like a reach, but look at the competition. The Bears have absolutely no offense and a old defense, placing them in fourth. The Vikings will win the division, as long as Adrian Peterson and their defensive line live up to their expectations. The Packers have a great team, but with the loss of their leader and QB Brett Favre, I have them as third. Aaron Rodgers has yet to show me anything that proves to me that he can handle starting every game.
Yes, I think the Lions will make the Wild Card game and then lose, only because of lack of experience. I hate to say that but I can wait a little longs for a Super Bowl, and this team still needs a little more building time. But I am rooting for them to go to the Super Bowl!
Calvin Johnson. An absolute freak of nature, this guy will display what he really has this season, injury-free.
This is very difficult, I would love to see Kevin Smith get over 1,000 yards this season and be a Rookie of the Year candidate, but I don't believe our Offensive line can get it done all season long. I see the best team rookie being DE Cliff Avril. When Jared DeVries gets beat out by #92, watch for Avril to make some great defensive plays this season.
I can see a solid above .500 season, around 9-7 or 10-6, being 4-2 in the NFC North and making the playoffs.