The 2011 Detroit Lions surprised many last year by making the playoffs. Even though they lost to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round. Not by coincidence, last year was also the 1st season that QB Matthew Stafford was able to stay upright, and play an entire season.
The talent was there. They have arguably the best wide receiver in the game in Calvin Johnson. They have a great pass catching tight end in Brandon Pettigrew. They got some great play out of a group of retread Running Backs. And their defense played well enough to keep them in almost every game of the season.
Coming into the 2012 season, there were high hopes in the Motor City. The only major loss for the team was corner back Eric Wright, to free agency. They were looking forward to the return of their 2nd round draft pick from 2011, Mikel Leshoure. He missed his entire rookie season with a broken leg. Everything seemed to be pointing in the right direction.
In their Week 1 home opener, The Lions came out sluggish, and played that way the entire game, until the final drive. On that drive, we saw the Detroit Lions that we all expected to see. They squeaked out a last minute win against the St. Louis Rams, but then they went on a 3 game losing streak. Falling to the San Francisco 49ers was not that shocking, but their next 2 losses came to the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings. These 2 losses were a result of an under achieving offense, and a defense that couldn’t get off the field when needed.
They are coming off of their bye this week, as the head to Philadelphia. Some say their bye couldn’t have come at a better time. Starting the season 1-3 was not in the plans for this 2011 playoff team. There is not 1 person or player that you can point your finger at for their slow start. The offense has been slowed. The practically unstoppable duo of Stafford & Johnson has not nearly been as dominant so far this season. Pettigrew has a number of drops. The running game has been slowed. The defense is not making that big play like they were last year. But all could be solved with a week off to gather themselves.
The Eagles have to be ready for a hungry Detroit Lions team on Sunday. They are in last place in a very competitive division, and they know they have to start winning now, before it’s too late, and they revert back to the Detroit Lions that are playing golf after week 17.