Detroit Lions Predictions: 10 Things That You Will See in 2011
For the first time in years it looks as if the Detroit Lions will be legitimately competitive in the NFC North Division.
Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz and the entire Detroit Lions organization have assembled one of the league’s youngest, most promising rosters.
Here are 10 predictions for the Detroit Lions in the National Football League’s 2011 regular season.
The Detroit Lions will Defeat the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football
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Week 5 of the 2011 NFL Regular Season will feature some of the greatest young talent Detroit has put on the field in years. It will be the national media’s first glimpse of what has been transpiring up North.
I look for Brandon Pettigrew to absolutely explode in this game.
Not only do I think that Detroit will aggressively defend Ford Field on Monday Night, I believe that they will destroy the Bears a la the 2010 routing of the St. Louis Rams.
Detroit’s Defensive Line Will Dominate Opposing Offensive Lines
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The Detroit Lions defensive line is for real. The NFL had better take notice.
There is no possible way that opposing offensive lines can match up with Detroit’s defensive line.
Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Cliff Avril are only the starting members of the d-line. The real issue for opposing offenses will be stopping them when they are fresh all game.
The Lions have the unique ability to rotate their powerful defensive lineman in and out of games and still remain powerfully aggressive on the defensive front.
Names like Lawrence Jackson, Corey Williams, and Sammie Hill are what truly make Detroit’s defensive line a formidable one.
Matthew Stafford Will Start At Least 14 Games
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Stafford’s injury history is well documented. He has only started 13 of 32 possible games in two seasons.
Stafford has shown that he is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the National Football League.
As of the Lions player organized workouts at Detroit Country Day, Matthew Stafford looks bigger and stronger. It has been said that he’s never thrown harder, proof of a successful rehabilitation program post shoulder surgery.
I look for Stafford to the NFL’s Comeback Player of The Year in 2011.
Rookie Running Back Mikel Leshoure Will Score at Least 9 Total Touchdowns in '11
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The Detroit Lions haven’t had a running back score more than eight touchdowns in a season since Barry Sanders rushed for 11 touchdowns and caught three touchdowns in 1997.
Barry Sanders himself didn’t even eclipse four total touchdowns in his final year in Detroit.
Look around the league, the most dominant, dependable backs can run between the tackles.
Enter rookie Mikel Leshoure.
Detroit will look to establish the run early and often in 2011, and Leshoure’s “specific role” is to pound opposing defenses. He will get the majority of goal line carriers.
Leshoure is the perfect combination of power and elusiveness, abilities prevalent in successful NFL backs Rashard Mendenhall and Michael Turner.
Detroit’s Defense Will Compile 45+ Sacks in 2011
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Both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch missed time in 2010, and Ndamukong Suh played the season with an injured shoulder that would require offseason surgery.
The Detroit Lions defense still managed 44 sacks. That’s 17 more sacks than opponents had against Detroit in 2010.
A healthy pass rush off the edge would unleash the nasty duo of Suh and Fairley in the middle, making it a short night for opposing quarterbacks.
Detroit has six defensive lineman that could start on any defensive line in the league.
Detroit Will Sign Either Nnamdi Asomugha, Ike Taylor, or Antonio Cromartie
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It’s no secret that Detroit’s secondary struggled against the pass last season.
Analysts and fans alike believe that Detroit will address its secondary via free agency.
The biggest name in this year’s free agency crop regardless of position is Nnamdi Asomugha.
Asomugha is an established shut down corner, and multiple teams will look to open their check books to sign him.
Other big game, big name free agent cornerbacks are Ike Taylor and Antonio Cromartie, two players that are looking for a huge pay day in 2011.
I believe that Detroit has narrowed their decision down to one of these three cornerbacks.
Matthew Stafford Will Break Detroit’s Single Season Passing Record
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In 1995 Scott Mitchell passed for 4,338 yards and threw 32 touchdowns.
Mitchell was the general of one of the league’s most potent offenses. The ’95 offense boasted some serious weapons.
Herman Moore alone went for 1,686 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
As a rookie in 2009, Matthew Stafford passed for 2,267 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 10 games.
Stafford’s only legitimate weapon in ’09 was Calvin Johnson, and not only did he miss two games, he faced constant double coverage.
Not only is 2011 Stafford’s year, it will be the greatest year in Detroit Lions passing history.
In only two years the Lions have stockpiled genuine offense talent. They brought in a veteran Nate Burleson, and drafted young play-makers Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure, Brandon Pettigrew, and Titus Young.
Calvin Johnson Will Establish Himself as the Leagues Greatest Receiver
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Detroit Lions fans have been saying it for years. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the National Football League.
At nearly 6'6" and 236 pounds, Calvin Johnson boasts a 4.35 40-yard dash time, and displays an impressive 44-and-a-half inch vertical jump.
There hasn’t been a receiver in the history of the NFL that has the size and skill set that Johnson possesses.
2011 represents the first time in Johnson’s entire career that he is surrounded by viable weapons. “Megatron” is poised to absolutely dominate.
In 2011 Jeff Backus Will Be Selected to His First Pro Bowl of His 10 Year Career
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Jeff Backus has started every game of his 10-year career. That is 160 straight starts at left tackle since Detroit drafted him in 2001.
Throughout his career Backus has shouldered the load from critics and cynics alike, in terms of the performance of the offensive line.
Backus’ sack numbers ballooned in the Mike Martz system, an issue that Chicago Bears 2010 starting left tackle Frank Omiyale knows all too well.
In all actuality Jeff Backus has proven to be a dependable tackle in the Scott Linehan system.
In fact Backus was named the best tackle in the NFC North in 2010 according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn’s yearly report on the division.
In the report Bob McGinn asks NFC North scouts to rank the top three players by position.
McGinn says “They were not permitted to vote for their own players, and none of the comments that follow was made by a scout about a player on his own team. A first-place vote was worth three points, a second was worth two points and a third was worth one point. Asterisks denote unanimous selections.”
Jeff Backus scored a nine, with the Chad Clifton and Bryant McKinnie following with 7 and 5 respectively.
Here is an excerpt from said report.
Backus, who tied with Clifton and McKinnie in '09, won his first outright title since '02 when Clifton was injured. "Backus played pretty good this year," one scout said. "It surprised me." Clifton has had six firsts plus seconds in two of the past three years. "He's the same to me," another scout said. "Just a steady player. Kind of like Backus. The thing that everyone forgets, this NFC North this year played the NFC East and the AFC East. Every week it was a good pass rusher. For our (tackles) to hold up is a credit to them."
Barry Sanders Will Finally Come out of Retirement and Return to the Lions
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That would have been plausible…in 2000. Please Lions fans, quit talking about how Barry retired early, and how he could still play today.
He was still better than Emmitt though.