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The Lions are a popular dark horse heading into the 2011 regular season.
It is hard to believe that just a few short years ago the Lions were the laughing stock of the NFL. Their general manager, Matt Millen, had run the team into the ground and paper bags were just as common to see as Lions jerseys.
Now, a new head coach and smart drafting has led to a bright future.
An offense highlighted by Matthew Stafford and his freak-of-nature wide receiver Calvin Johnson should have Lions fans excited. Not to mention another freak of nature on the other side of the ball named Ndamukong Suh.
The defense is expected to improve drastically this year and could be the driving force behind the Lions success. Additions like rookie Nick Fairley will go a long way towards achieving that goal.
The key to the Lions success is staying healthy.
Stafford has yet to put together a full season. He is certainly talented enough to be the starting quarterback for this team, but they can't win without him on the field.
In his rookie season, running back Jahvid Best has also shown a tendency to get hurt and now is banged up this preseason. Rookie Mikel Leshoure was drafted for a more dynamic backfield, but suffered a season-ending injury already.
The Lions are still very young and haven't maximized their potential yet. If their defense can take a few strides forward and health is on their side, don't count them out.