2011 Record: 10-6 (2nd NFC North, L Wildcard Rd @ New Orleans)
Projected 2012 Record: 11-5 (3rd NFC North)
Key Arrivals: S Sean Jones, WR Jarrett Dillard, DE Everette Brown, CB Jacob Lacey
Key Departures: OLB Bobby Carpenter, QB Drew Stanton, CB Eric Wright
When you’re defense is ranked in the bottom third and your running game is almost dead last, you really have nowhere to go but up…unless your QB gets hurt (knock on wood Lions fans). Matthew Stafford and Megatron carried the Lions last season, if Jahvid Best and Mikel LeShoure can remain healthy and give the Lions a balanced offensive attack, they will be even better offensively. If this happens, expect a decline in numbers from Stafford, as he’ll have a more balanced offense to deal with. On the defensive side, the Lions have got to chill out with all the legal troubles, all these run-ins with the law could possibly result in some suspensions.
The defense needs a little more consistency in the secondary, losing Eric Wright to free agency is going to hurt, and while Lacey is a decent corner, he’s not that top-notch fit that they need. They drafted Dwight Bentley (Louisiana-Lafeyette), Chris Greenwood (Albion), and Jonte Green (New Mexico State), but there’s no telling whether these rookies will be ready to step up and fill in the role.
If the Lions can find some offensive stability and force a few more turnovers on the defensive side of the football, they should be an even better team than last year. It’s really surprising that the Lions had so much success last season despite their immaturity and obviously one-dimensional offense (especially once Best got hurt).
I really believe the Lions will show out a little more this year, a balanced attack will make them more dangerous, defensive improvement has yet to be seen.