By: Eric Thomas
When the Detroit Lions release their schedule every year, nonsensical predictions can’t be far behind. The NFL built its house on parity decades ago. Last year’s conference champion can be this years’ first overall in the draft order. Very few teams are consistently bad, ahem, and very few teams are constantly good. Only four teams haven’t been to a Super Bowl. It’s crazy to make predictions because we have no idea which teams are going to gel out of nowhere and which are going to be an outright disaster.
It’s hard to believe the Lions will be one of the “out of nowhere” teams next year. Lions fans have convinced themselves that they are the doorstep of a playoff season, but it’s hard to see that from where the roster sits right now. Even if they make GREAT moves in the draft, those players will be rookies and it’s foolish to count on first year players to do great things. Sure, teams have gotten lucky in the past. The Lions did last year, when Larry Warford came out of the third round and played like a Pro Bowler. It’s nice to get lucky like that, but you can’t count on it.
The Lions start the season against the Giants on Monday Night Football at Ford Field. The G-Men were a dumpster fire last year; they won’t be again. If that’s a loss, and it easily could be, things could spiral out of control. They travel to Carolina to take on River Boat Ron and Cam Newton, and then back to Ford Field play the division rival Packers. Yes, it’s crazy to make predictions, but those look like three losses.
A 0-3 start for a first year head coach, especially when the fan base thinks they’re going to win now, would be a disaster. The calls for Stafford’s job will be cacophonous, and will likely continue regardless of what happens for the rest of the year.
Here’s the mix for the Lions next year: a defensive secondary that’s struggling; a quarterback that the loudest have turned on; Ndamukong Suh’s drama surrounding his contract or lack thereof; an NFC North that’s going to be better; a fan base who’s been convinced they should be in the playoffs; a first year coach and a first year system. The whole situation looks like a sloppily packed powder keg.
Teams can survive bad starts. The Lions can’t. Let’s adjust that: the Lions fan base can’t. Every new coach and new player has to shoulder the burden of those who came before him. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth. The players and coaches who wear Honolulu Blue must answer for the decisions that they never made and plays they didn’t make. When you become a Lion, you’re a loser until proven otherwise, and that debt is assigned by the people who cheer for the team.
If the Lions start 0-3, which looks likely based on this schedule, it’s going to be a long year of “keep changing the coach, but it’s the Same Old Lions.”