Detroit Lions are 5-0???
After last night’s 24-13 victory over the Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions remain undefeated. The Lions are now 5-0 through five games for the first time since 1956. Yes, the Lions are 5-0. The same Lions that in 2008 became the first team in NFL history to go an entire season without winning a game (0-16). Even the most optimistic of Lions fans couldn’t have expected this fast start and with expectations for the Lions growing with each passing week, I’m going to try figure out how the team has come from the NFL’s worst team in 2008 to genuine playoff contender in 2011.
After the 2008 season, the Lions hired a new Head Coach, General Manager and drafted Quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick of the 09 draft. Since then, the Lions have taken huge steps to turn around the franchise. The Lions finished the 2009 season with a record of 2-14, an improvement of 2 games from the year before. Despite only winning 2 games in the 09 season, the Lions seemed to have found the right Head Coach in Jim Schwartz. The former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator immediately improved the Lions defense, and showed he was capable of turning around the troubled Franchise. Combine this with new Quarterback Matthew Stafford showing flashes of greatness, despite only playing in ten games and the Lions looked set for a promising 2010 season.
The Lions had the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. The Lions picked the dominating defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska, and immediately upgraded their defensive line. The selection of Suh, which was highly praised at the time, turned out to be just what the Lions needed and they finished the 2010 season 6-10. This was an improvement of 4 games from the year before. Perhaps even more impressive was the play of the Lions top draft pick Ndamukong Suh. Suh finished the season with 10 sacks, a Pro Bowl selection and Rookie of the Year honors. It was now clear that the Lions were ready to take the next step and make a playoff push in the 2011 season.
The Lions are currently tied for first in the NFC North along with the defending Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers. After five games it’s clear that the Lions are for real and are ready to take the final step in their turnaround by making it to the playoffs this season. After consecutive victories against possible playoff teams in the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, the Lions head into week6 knowing a win against the San Francisco 49ers will bring their record to 6-0 and match their total wins from last season. Led by Quarterback Matthew Stafford and star Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson commonly known as “Megatron” for his enormous frame and leaping ability, the Lions look set to make the playoffs this season. With two games against the defending Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers to come, I see the Lions finishing the season 10-6 which should be enough for a wildcard place in the NFC. As the Lions look set to make their their first playoff appearance since 1999, the only question remains is how long can they stay undefeated.