Detroit Lions: 2012 season preview

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It wasn’t too long ago that the Detroit Lions were the laughing stock of the football world. The Lions compiled a 31-97 record from 2001 to 2008, setting the standard for futility in that time frame and managing to cap it off with a winless regular season in 2008. In the years since CEO Matt Millen departed from the franchise, the organization has made strides in improving and making itself a legitimate NFL playoff contender. They managed to win two games in 2009 and six games in 2010 before breaking through in 2011: Their 10-6 record earned them a Wild Card berth and, although they were eliminated in one game by the Saints, it also gave their fans something that they haven’t had for a long time as the team heads into 2012: Hope.

As far as personnel goes, the Lions have become a talented bunch. By making the most of their draft picks over the last several years, Detroit has been able to stockpile a handful of young players who can serve as difference makers. Quarterback Matt Stafford is heading into his fourth season, and he’s proven himself to be a very productive player when able to stay healthy. Although Stafford played in just 13 of a potential 32 games over his first two seasons, 2011 saw him stay healthy and put up marvelous numbers: Stafford finished with the fifth-highest QB rating in the league with a 97.2, and he was one of three players to throw for an eye-popping 5,000-plus yards, finishing with 5,038. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has one of the most dynamic young receivers in the league to throw to in Calvin Johnson. Read more here…

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