2013 Record: 7-5
Everything fell apart for the Lions in 2012 who started 4-4 but lost their last eight games to go back to the losing the fans had thought they wouldn’t have to deal with anymore. They also went an unacceptable 0-6 in the NFC North. The Matt Stafford-led passing attack was as lethal as usual, but an undisciplined defense and inconsistent running game spelled doom in football’s best division last year. Stafford threw for only 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions but 4,967 yards. It wasn’t a perfect year but he was the least of their problems. Mikel Leshoure was the primary running back for most of the season, but he would be better served as a goal line back. He lacks the elusiveness to be a full time #1. Behind him was Joique Bell who got playing time and produced with 414 rushing yards and 5.0 yards per carry. Titus Young talked his way out of Detroit by complaining about not getting the ball. That means even less support for Calvin Johnson (122 receptions, 1,964 receiving yards). Nate Burleson is being thrust back into the #2 role behind Johnson, which exposes their lack of depth at the position. The Lions do have strong tight ends with Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, who combined for more than 100 receptions and 1,050 receiving yards. The problem for the offense was the rushing attack, but they signed Reggie Bush this offseason to fix that. If Bush is as reliable as he was as a Dolphin, that’ll go a huge way toward balancing the offense.
Defensively, they downgraded on the defensive line when Cliff Avril signed with the Seahawks and former-Seahawk Jason Jones signed with the Lions. But they did resign mainstay cornerback Chris Houston and sign Bears defensive end Israel Idonije later in the free agency period. Detroit was less than middle-of-the-pack in sacks last year and only forced 24 turnovers, a number that needs to increase. But on paper, the Lions look like they’ll force plenty of pressure on the quarterback this fall. Across the D-line are Jones, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and first-round pick Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah was a stretch in the early first round but fits in with this dominant line. The secondary is alright with Chris Houston and Louis Delmas the best in the unit. And Stephen Tulloch has turned into a solid regular at middle linebacker. But still, a lack of team discipline caused the Lions to commit many stupid penalties. Suh namely has a reputation for releasing aggression on opponents. Opponents notice, as do the referees. Questions have arisen around head coach Jim Schwartz and his ability, or lack thereof, to control his players and his own emotions. The offense will be just fine. If the defense can stay focused, the Lions can compete in this division. Get your Lions tickets today with Gold Coast Tickets!