Why Stephen Tulloch Makes the Detroit Lions Playoff Contenders

Aaron YoungCorrespondent IIIJuly 31, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 07:  Stephen Tulloch #55 of the Tennessee Titans tackles running back Jamal Lewis #31 of the Cleveland Browns during the game on December 7, 2008 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Breaking news! Stephen Tulloch has agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Detroit Lions.  The extremely talented middle linebacker, who is entering his sixth year in the league, has spent the previous five seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Tulloch has improved steadily ever since he was drafted by the Titans in 2006, and he is just coming off his best season. Tulloch combined for 160 tackles in 2010 and now has back-to-back seasons of 100-plus tackles.

One would think that the Lions defense was already looking mean enough, but the acquisition of Stephen Tulloch lifts Detroit’s defense to another level.

It’s said that it’s defense that will win your team a Super Bowl, and I think that’s partly right. Football is a team sport, and it is the team that will get your team to the Super Bowl—and the team just improved a lot.

The Lions already had a solid front four. The thought of Ndamukong Suh teaming up with 2011 first-rounder Nick Fairley is scary in itself, but when you also consider the fact that the defense now also features players like Tulloch and Kyle Vanden Bosch—that side of the ball suddenly looks very impressive.

If the organization also manages to bring back Cliff Avril as well as adding another cornerback, the defense will be nothing short of elite.

However, that’s not all that is impressive about the Detroit Lions in 2011.

The offense is also looking like an impressive group. Matthew Stafford is arguably one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league. If he can stay healthy, Stafford can do great things this season. Shaun Hill is also a more than decent backup.

There’s no reason why any quarterback will not succeed for the Detroit Lions this upcoming season. Not many field generals would even dare to dream of having Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young to throw the ball to. Having a great receiving tight end like Brandon Pettigrew is also always an advantage in the passing game.

In our opinion, the Detroit Lions now feature both a top-five defense along with a top-five receiving corps.

It doesn’t hurt to have two very talented running backs in Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure to take the pressure off the passing game either.

We believe that the organization will have to upgrade the secondary in order for the team to have any shot at the Super Bowl. We believe that will be sorted out before the start of the season.

Many fans are hoping for a playoff appearance this season, but in our opinion, that’s not all this team can do. Dear NFL, watch out for the Detroit Lions in 2011!