By Tom Millikan
I’ve lived in the Detroit area my entire life. I’m a lifelong Lions fan. I’ve had that sit-down with my Dad where he tells you “son, never invest your heart in the Lions. They will only burn you.”
I’ve suffered pain and anguish like every hardcore Lions fan out there. I’ve suffered through Eddie Murray’s missed field goal in San Francisco. I’ve suffered through the 1991 beat-downs by the Redskins. I’ve suffered through Brett Favre to Sterling Sharpe. I’ve suffered through Yancey Thigpen’s drop. I’ve suffered through Barry Sanders -1 yard in Green Bay. I’ve suffered through Lomas Brown’s asinine guarantee in Philadelphia. I’ve suffered through Mike Utley, Eric Andolsek, Reggie Brown, Scott Mitchell, Wayne Fontes, Bobby Ross, Marty Mornhinweg, Charles Rogers, Joey Blue Skies, Big Fat Mike Williams and Matt “FRIGGIN” Millen.
I’ve suffered like YOU!
But on the eve of the first preseason game of 2012, I’m here to proclaim to you that OUR Detroit Lions are Super Bowl bound. I believe! I believe in Matthew Stafford. I believe in Calvin Johnson. I believe in Ndamukong Suh. I believe in Jim Schwartz. I believe in Martin Mayhew. I believe in THIS team. It’s just TIME!
The key to my prediction is the defensive line of the Lions masking their weak secondary. I say the d-line rebounds big time this year. Suh and Fairley will become forces that will pressure even big time passing offenses like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
At the same time, Stafford and Johnson go next level and become without a doubt the best QB/WR combo in the game. Do you remember how Montana/ Rice took over? Do you remember how Manning/Harrison took over? I think Stafford/Johnson reach that stratosphere.
Suddenly, the Lions become dictators. They jump on teams early. They get early leads, they force teams to become one-dimensional, and the defensive line becomes a slaughterhouse for opposing QBs. They take over games and DOMINATE.
The Lions play six NFC North games. The Packers are legit, but the Lions will split with them. The Bears don’t scare me at all. Jay Cutler is a flake and the Lions will expose him. The Vikings are awful and have no QB.
The Lions also play four NFC West opponents and four AFC South opponents. Name me one elite QB for those eight teams. CAKEWALK CITY!
The NFC is ripe for the taking. I don’t see a scary team in the conference!
The Giants will be better record wise, but nobody repeats in the NFL anymore.
Why should the Eagles scare you? History says Vick can’t stay healthy the entire year.
The Cowboys! Please. Why this year for Romo?
Why would the depleted Saints win it this year, if they couldn’t last year?
Why will Matt Ryan all of a sudden win a playoff game?
That leaves us with the 49ers. People that know me well know that I am a Jim Harbaugh honk. He always gets more out of his teams than he should. They have arguably the best defense in the league, and their offense will be more consistent. That makes the 49ers the team to beat… in the regular season.
The 49ers get the 1 seed in the NFC winning the West. The Lions get the 2 seed winning the North. The Giants get the 3 seed winning the East and the Panthers (my sleeper) get the 4 seed winning the South. The Packers get the 5 seed and the Falcons get the 6 seed as Wildcards.
The Panthers beat the Packers and the Giants beat the Falcons in the Wildcard Round.
The Panthers beat the 49ers and the Lions beat the Giants in the Divisional Round.
That sets the stage for the Lions hosting their first ever NFC Championship Game on January 20, 2013 vs. the Carolina Panthers. Stafford and Johnson come up big outscoring Cam Newton’s Panthers to set off the wildest party Detroit has ever seen.
Who wouldn’t take that as a Lions fan? Finally, reaching the Super Bowl…
But do they win the Super Bowl? Ahhhh the elephant in the room…
I say no. The Patriots seemed destined to reach another Super Bowl. Check out their cake schedule. The Lions lose to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans 27-24 as Tom Brady finally gets that coveted 4th Super Bowl ring. Brady ties Montana and Bradshaw at our expense; mentor Belichick one-ups apprentice Schwartz.
One last tough lesson for all of us Lions fans. But you’ll take it. Right? I will.