This may be tough for a lot of Detroit Lions fans to read; but a case can be made for the Lions becoming the second most hyped team (next to the Philadelphia Eagles) without playing a meaningful game yet.
Years of Detroit teams that were subpar and pathetic are starting to fade away as the club finally has a team worth watching. The danger of getting your hopes up too soon, however, can lead to heartbreak and disappointment.
There are many sources buzzing about the offense and defense and everything in between, and the Detroit Lions' expectations grow each day. Realistically, they may be too young, not quite there yet and risk failing to meet the expectations.
The Lions must play three other teams in the NFC North that will provide very tough competition. The Lions play in most likely the toughest division in the NFL which is also home to the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
The Lions have key positional players in all areas of their roster; however, after the starting core, the depth doesn't support the inflated hype surrounding this team.
The Lions possess one of the league's best wide receiver combinations in Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, but after that there is a steep drop-off.
The problem here is, if one of or both of these players are injured or are taken out of the game by a defense, is anyone capable of stepping up? It is not likely.
The quarterback position is seemingly alright as Lions faithful hope that Matthew Stafford can stay healthy and be the quarterback they thought he could be.
If Stafford is hurt again, the Lions do have Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton who can start, but each has issues that make them average quarterbacks.
The ground game is led by Jahvid Best, who should make a bigger impact this year and help the team's offense. However, after Best there is a large concern about depth at this position. To address this, the Lions are thinking of converting Stefan Logan to help the running attack.
Defensively, the Lions have a group of strong players who can hold their own and have the ability to ensure a win for the team by controlling the game if needed against certain teams.
The defense will be able to rush the passer and stuff the run effectively, and the secondary is only going to improve. The question is can the team rely on the defense alone?
Not in this division.
Looking at the schedule, the Lions have a grouping of games that put them up against teams that are superior to them and have the talent and depth to handle the Lions defense and offense.
That brings the lions up to seven losses, and I feel the team has another coming by a team that steals a game from under them.
Overall, the Lions are becoming good again, but I have them at 8-8 for the 2011 season.
There are steps that they need to take, and most of that is rounding the team out in the depth charts to take a lot of pressure off primary targets in the offense. The Lions will establish themselves as a team to beat in the near future, but the immediate season at hand is most likely not the one.
The Lions are becoming a very over-inflated team, one that still has a lot to prove.