Detroit Lions Team Breakdown

Last year the Detroit Lions took a huge step forward, finishing second in possibly the toughest division in football, the NFC North.  Detroit’s high powered offense were able to fly up and down the field, mainly on the arm of Matthew Stafford and the hands, feet, and power of Megatron, Calvin Johnson.  Expect much of the same in 2012.

There are several areas of concern within the Detroit organization, none more worrisome then the string of off the field incidents the team was involved in this off-season.  Between the 2011 season and this moment, 4 Detroit Lions players have been arrested a total of 7 times.  Aaron Berry, cornerback, was arrested twice for DUI and Assault, he has since been cut.  Running Back Mikel Leshoure was arrested twice for Marijuana possession, Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, was arrested twice, once for Marijuana and once for DUI.  And finally, Johnny Culbreath, backup Tackle, was arrested for Marijuana as well.

Along with the off field incidents, Detroit may have one more major concern.  Madden 13.  The cover boy for this years version of the highest selling sports game franchise, none other than Megatron himself, Calvin Johnson.  For those of you who are not aware, and I don’t how that would be possible, the video game Madden is cursed.  (learn about the Madden Curse).  This year Calvin JOhnson will be gracing the cover, and that could spell disaster for the Lions.  If the curse takes hold and Megatron goes down, the Detroit Lions become a Motor City muscle car, with no gas.

Other things to worry about.  Detroit has not been able to put together any kind of decent running attack in recent years.  Their ideal starting back has missed the vast majority of the last two years with concussion symptoms, and the future of Javid Best is up in the air and no one is sure the super talented half back will return to the NFL.  Add previously mentioned, Mikel LeShoure, who may still end up being suspended for his off the field activities, is recovering from a hamstring issue suffered this off season, and a torn Achilles tendon he suffered before the preseason last year.  Detroit has a quality back in Kevin Smith, who has carried the load as well as any third string running back can be expected to.  Without a steady running game the Lions offense becomes very one dimensional, granted that dimension is Calvin Johnson, but even Megatron can not carry the load on every play.  Add to that Matthew Stafford’s health history, and defenses hell-bent on stopping the Detroit passing game will be coming with all the pressure they can muster, which may lead to another Stafford injury.

The big advantage for the Lions is their schedule.  They play the weak NFC West, and AFC South divisions, with home games against ST. Louis, Seattle, Houston, and Indianapolis.  The easy non division opponents should help Detroit stay in the hunt in the NFC North, although with 2 games against the leagues best team a year ago, Green Bay Packers, and 2 against the rebuilt Chicago Bears, winning the division maybe a stretch.

FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are musts.  Megatron has been going in the first round, as he should, and Stafford has been going as early as the second round.  At running back, Detroit has issues, and until we know the status of Leshoure he should be avoided at all costs.  Same with Javid Best.  Kevin Smith is worth a late round pick up (11th round or later).  The wide receivers, other than Johnson, can be hit and miss from week to week, Titus Young has been on many experts sleeper list and should play primarily as a slot receiver.  Nate Burleson is another candidate as a #3 fantasy wide receiver, however if the Madden Gods have their way, he may jump to a legitimate number One, as long as Stafford is still chucking the ball around.  The Defense is hit or miss, for two-thirds of the season they should be an excellent fantasy play, but with 2 against the Bears and Pack, along with Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia, there are a lot of talented offenses in front of this talented group.

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