NFL: 5 Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Are Playoff-Bound
Through Week 2 of the regular season, the Detroit Lions don't have the look of a contender.
They have the look of a bully.
Detroit dominated the Kansas City Chiefs early yesterday, and added 28 points in the second half faster than you can say "Bobby Layne."
Non-playoff teams don't beat defending division champions by 45 points.
But the Lions did. And winning by 45 didn't tell the whole story about Detroit's domination.
The Lions have it all, and can't be taken lightly. They have a top-10 quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who could break into the top-five soon. They have top-tier talent surrounding him and a young defense that is brutalizing its opponents.
Of all the reason to expect the Lions play football deep into January, here are the top five.
Matthew Stafford Is Healthy, and Playing Like an All-Pro
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Oh, so this is what Matthew Stafford can do when he's healthy.
Two games into 2011, and Stafford has 600 yards passing, seven touchdown passes, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 112.
But the statistics fail to tell the entire story. Stafford's first interception was a pick-six against the Bucs that came off of a well-thrown ball that was misjudged and tipped into the air.
Also, Stafford did his damage against the Chiefs in essentially three quarters, with the Lions leading big going into the fourth.
Stafford is legit, and his legend is just beginning. As long as the stays on the field, Detroit has a chance to win the division.
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Well, now you know.
Calvin Johnson has nine catches for 117 yards in two games. While, these are low numbers by his standards, four of those nine receptions have gone for touchdowns.
Johnson continues to see frequent double coverage, and it doesn't matter.
C.J. is too tall, too strong, too athletic and too good of a route-runner to be defended by no fewer than, say, eight defensive backs at once.
And one of them needs to be Chuck Norris.
Don't Look Now, but Jahvid Best Is Pretty Good
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What's harder than stopping a quarterback like Matthew Stafford, who has Calvin Johnson at his disposal?
Somehow stopping Stafford and Johnson only to watch Jahvid Best kill you.
The Chiefs limited Johnson to three receptions Sunday, only to watch Best combine for 123 total yards and two touchdowns.
Best looked fantastic last year before a slew of injuries slowed the rookie's progress, but 2011 has him showing signs of being the real deal.
In addition, Best actually has one more reception than Johnson and is averaging more than 10 yards whenever Stafford looks his way.
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Something about this year's Lions reminds me of the early-'90s Cowboys.
Aikman, Smith and Irvin. Stafford, Johnson and Best.
While the Lions' Holy Triumvirate has a long way to go, we all know that special things happen in powers of three.
Ask the Cowboys about 1992, 1993 and 1995. Ask them about Aikman, Smith and Irvin.
Ask the Patriots about 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Ask the Colts about having Manning, Harrison and Edgerrin James throughout the 2000s.
The Lions have an absolutely unlimited future if their modern-day "triplets" can stay healthy,
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If someone tells you a team has the second-highest scoring offense in the league, you might be impressed.
If someone told you that same team had the second-best scoring defense and the seventh-best defense in terms of total yardage, you would call them the 2011 Detroit Lions.
While the Lions offense has been completely dominant, the Lions defense makes you wonder if this team has even one weakness.
Imagine you're the opposing quarterback. Your defense has just gotten shredded by Matthew Stafford, and now you take the field to see Ndamukong Suh line up 18 inches away from you.
That's what the Lions opponents get to look forward to.
Suh looks like something we've never seen before. He's Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White. He's Dick Butkus and Warren Sapp.
He's all of them wrapped up in one large, strong, unmovable mountain of intimidating defensive presence.
When Nick Fairley comes back from his preseason foot injury, I don't know how any team plans to run the football against the Lions again this year.
When Suh and Fairley aren't single-handedly dominating games, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Tulloch will be pressuring the quarterback and cleaning up what few plays are left to be made in the running game.
The Lions secondary is also better than we thought, as they have four interceptions in the season's first two games and have done a better job than I anticipated closing on passes and tackling once catches are made.