Detroit Lions 2011: Are the Lions Finally Headed to the Playoffs?

Austin BrinesContributor IIJune 9, 2011

DETROIT - DECEMBER 05: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is sacked by Cliff Avril #92 and Julian Peterson #98 of the Detroit Lions as Ndamukong Suh #90 looks on during the game at Ford Field on December 5, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-20.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Lions fans have been punished for the entirety of their lives in terms of football. Never had we had a truly winning team.

However, things are becoming more promising. Is this the year the Lions finally can make the playoffs?

Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew have created a strong base of young players to go along with veterans.

The Lions have a notable strength at defensive line and at the offensive skill positions. Will these two strongholds be enough to take this team to the playoffs?

The main weaknesses are in the secondary and linebacking core, with a slighter weakness on the O-line. The main question will be whether these weaknesses can be filled through free agency.

If they are, then the Lions have a very legitimate chance to make the playoffs. If not, then the defensive line will have to carry the team, which may be too much to ask.

Matthew Stafford is a main factor to think about when talking about this major question. If he stays healthy throughout, then the playoff chances shoot up. If he is injured, then the hopes are nearly squashed. With him healthy, this offense can be extremely dynamic.

Dynamic enough to secure a playoff spot? Well, we will see.

The lockout is hurting the Lions very much. They need to grow as a team and have the rookies mesh in. Also, they need free agency and undrafted free agents to fill out the roster. However, I have faith in Mayhew to pull off the moves that they need to have in order to make the playoffs.

I do like what I am seeing with the team organized workouts, although I am not sure they will truly make a difference. However, it can never be bad to have your team working together to get better in the offseason.

Can the newly named "Silver Crush" and the rest of the Lions restore the roar in Detroit?

In the end, I think it will come down to the breaks the team receives. Will they get the calls when the game is on the line, or will the ball bounce the right way in a crucial game?

These factors are what makes it so hard to determine what teams will make the playoffs. With all of the great NFC teams fighting for spots, there are only six spots. The Lions can only hope to be one of the six lucky teams.

The Lions certainly have a fighting chance if everything goes right. For that, Lions fans should be thankful and optimistic. After many years of beat down optimism, you may actually be able to think positively going into this year.

The worst thing that could happen to us fans has already happened, unless the Lions find a way to go 0-17! 

Please answer the simple poll question above and let me know what you think in the comment section. Thank you for reading!