EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 11th of 32 preseason previews in 32 days leading up to the NFL season opener Thursday, Sept 5.
Win total last 5 years: 22
LVH over/under wins (7½)
Jim Schwartz, forget that contract extension. After a 4-12 fifth season as coach, you are back on the clock.
We’re going out on a limb predicting that Schwartz is toast in Detroit if the record this season isn’t 8-8 or better. The 4-12 in 2012 is a bit deceiving – five losses were by 4 points or less.
Fortunes have run the gamut. The Lions went from 2-30 to a 10-win season and the playoffs two years ago. Calvin Johnson is considered the best receiver in the NFL and QB Matthew Stafford is a prolific passer.
Problem is Stafford throws all the time, like an NFL record 727 last year. That’s great for Megatron and fantasy owners who own him as the first wide receiver pick, but it’s not doing the Lions any good.
Enter Reggie Bush, acquired from Miami. Reggie re-invented himself with the Dolphins and finally offers a cure to the ground game deficiency that has plagued the Lions for years.
Problem is Reggie tends to get hurt.
The strength of the Lions is the defensive front led by monsters Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and top draft pick Ziggy Ansah from BYU. Unfortunately the rest of the draft is rated a D by Athlon Sports.
The Lions play three division rivals in the first five weeks of the season so we should know then if Schwartz has much left in job security.
The Lions brought in veteran David Akers to replace Jason Hanson, who had been booting field goals for the Lions since 1992. Akers was 4-for-4 in a 26-17 preseason win over the Jets.
Detroit is the poster child for how volatile the NFL can be from one year to the next. Will we see the Lions of 2011 or the one from last season? You make the call.
Monday: Green Bay Packers.