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NFL Lines 2011 Sleepers - Detroit Lions

Posted by Brett Nielson on 8/24/2011 12:13:23 PM

The Detroit Lions clearly have the weapons to succeed this NFL lines season, as their roster is full of talent at nearly every position.

However, if we’ve learned anything from the past two seasons, it’s that Detroit’s major issue is their ability to stay healthy.

NFL 2010-11 Season
Detroit Lions vs. NFL: 6-10
Detroit Lions vs. NFC North: 2-4

NFL Lines – To Win NFC North
Green Bay Packers -225
Chicago Bears 400
Detroit Lions 500
Minnesota Vikings 900

Offense: A-

Detroit’s quarterback Matthew Stafford is truly the vital cog in the their offense, and will be the biggest deciding factor as to whether or not the Lions can attain their first winning NFL lines season since 2000.

However, judging from the past, it looks as though it won’t be easy for the Lions to keep their 23-year-old quarterback under center for the entire season.

Stafford played in just 3 games last season, and has only participated in 13 of a possible 20 matches in his NFL career. Though, when he is on the field, the 6’3”, 232-pound signal caller has shown signs of greatness. Last year, despite only participating in three matches, he managed to throw 6 touchdowns, 1 interception, and record an overall passer rating of 91.3.

This NFL lines season, it appears as though Stafford has recovered fully and is ready to get back to playing football. As a matter of fact, he claimed to be fully healed last December – wanting to play in some of the year’s final NFL lines games – but head coach Jim Schwartz sidelined him, not wanting to take any chances.

In addition to having tremendous skill in the quarterback position, the Lions are also blessed to have some talent in other key offensive areas. Detroit withholds one of the most potent wide receivers in the game with Calvin Johnson and maintains solid depth at that spot with Nate Burleson at the number two spot. As well, the Lions have an upstart sophomore running back in Jahvid Best – who was given the starting job this offseason when Detroit released veteran Kevin Smith.

Defense: C+

The Lions’ main strength on defense comes from their excellent defensive line, ranking sixth overall in sacks last year. Rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is coming off an outstanding rookie season – one where he was selected to the Pro Bowl. Detroit also boasts 31-year-old tackle Corey Williams, and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch (whom they acquired through free-agency this offseason).

Detroit’s Achilles Heel on defense is their linebacker corps. The Lions’ linebackers are one of the most lenient rush stoppers in the league, ranking 24th last NFL lines season, giving up an average of 124.9 ground yards per game.

As for their defensive backs, the Lions rank in the middle of the pack. They were positioned 16th overall last NFL lines season, allowing 218.6 passing yards per game. Additionally, they totaled only 14 interceptions all of last year, tying for 14th in the league.

Overall: B

The Lions do have some skill in their lineup, though it is still unclear whether they will be able to string together a series of victories. Their success will depend on their offense, full of skill and youth, and whether they can create some slack for an overly generous defense. Should the Detroit Lions find themselves able to stay healthy all year round… I wouldn’t go as far to say that they would be a lock for the NFC North, but I would put some heavy money on them at least qualifying for a Wild Card spot.

Messina Mention: The Detroit Lions won the only game the Matthew Stafford started and finished last season.

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