The Detroit Lions finished the 2011 regular season with a 10-6 record making it into the playoffs as a wild card. The loss in the first round of the playoffs to New Orleans 45-28 was a crushing defeat that has fans thinking it might have been a fluke season. With a strong passing offense led by fourth year pro Matthew Stafford and superstar receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, the Lions should be lighting up the scoreboard once again. The one question is with their running game.
Jahvid Best showed flashes but missed more than half of the season with a concussion and has yet to be cleared to play this season.
Rookie Mikel Leshoure is suspended for the first three games of the season and has been dinged up in training camp as well. Kevin Smith, who returned to the Lions after a short absence and looked like he was hungry to be back in the NFL, may ultimately be the Lions starting tailback.
The Lion's offensive line should be better again and protecting Stafford will be put at a premium. The defense is good enough to keep them in most games and let the offense score points and put up big numbers. So the Lion's hope really rest in the throwing arm of one Matthew Stafford and the ability of Superstar Calvin Johnson to take it to the endzone. Johnson is a rare combination of size and speed that makes him nearly impossible to cover effectively. Johnson put up some huge numbers last season with 96 catches for 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The one big key though is the continued emergence of tightend Brandon Pettigrew who had 83 catches last season and seems to be a good second option for Stafford as well as taking some coverage away from Johnson. Critics say that the Lions were a fluke but that offense should be just as explosive in year two and has proven it can win games. At season's end if they can shore up their porous secondary and produce a formidable game their powerful passing offense could put them over the top in a loaded NFC North division.