“There’s so many. I look at one team in our own division that I think is going to surprise a lot of people this year and that’s the Detroit Lions. I think they had a great offseason and the coach they got in there is bringing in a new mentality and they’re building. Minnesota, they’ll be strong again of course. Just our division alone is going to be a dogfight.”
Now, I've had this same inkling of a feeling that Detroit may finally have shaken the Millen Curse they suffered under for so long. The Lions have never actually been a powerhouse (no Super Bowl trophies in that cabinet, either), but there was a time that you didn't go into those games assuming it was a win. For a long time, the Vikings, Bears, and Packers were essentially spotted two games at the beginning of the season, which has the tendency to inflate your record a bit. Not that the Packers weren't the superior team in all of those games, but the Lions were pretty good at beating themselves along the way.
Now, the drafting of Ndamukong Suh this offseason perked up a lot of ears in the NFC North. It's not often that a rookie defensive lineman helps bring some instant legitimacy to a team, but Suh's potential is considerable. Jahvid Best is also raising the hopes that go along with an offense that features some top draft picks in Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.
Now, any team that still has Marquand Manuel on its roster is going to be far from a Super Bowl threat, but it's interesting to see Woodson mention the Lions by name, after Rodgers gave them a diss in his famous interview with ESPN last month that riled the local media:
Rodgers was talking about his interesting (crazy?) suggestion that NBA free agent LeBron James should sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the Clippers. Rodgers’ rationale was that a few changes could bolster the franchise.
“New uniforms, new logo,” Rodgers said Monday. “Worked for the Lions, right?”
There you go, Leos. Circle the date: Oct. 3 at Lambeau.
Now, I see the funny part of all this: the Lions are probably happy to get any attention from anywhere to stroke their competitive juices, as most of the NFL has forgotten they even exist. But, the time may have come where the Lions are not just thrown on that pile of automatic wins anymore. If the line doesn't do a better job protecting Rodgers (and Rodgers doesn't learn to get rid of the ball a little quicker), he may be getting an up and close introduction to a Boy Named Suh.