2. Detroit Lions
Again, this is not about a lack of talent. The Detroit Lions obviously have some very talented players, but it’s just not “in the stars” for them to compete in the NFC North.
Starting the season 0-4 hasn’t helped, but anyone could see this coming from a mile away.
Watching Nick Fairley sign with the St. Louis Rams hurt. Losing Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins really, really hurt. The Lions added Haloti Ngata, but that defensive line isn’t the same caliber that it once was. They picked up six sacks against the Seahawks, but Seattle’s offensive line is their only weakness, and even that won’t last forever.
Calvin Johnson’s seven-year, $113 million deal expires after 2019. I’m just putting that out there. Johnson is still a physical freak with a lot of talent — in spite of that wrong side of 30 argument. The more alarming figure is the one touchdown Johnson has on 45 targets through four games.
Maybe that’s Matthew Stafford’s fault? Speaking of Stafford, he’s owed about $22 million in each of the final two years of his deal, which expires after 2o17.
Something is wrong with the Lions. Stafford should have more than five passing touchdowns through four weeks with the weapons and talent he has.
I know Jim Caldwell took Detroit to an 11-win season last year, but that was last year. It’s hard to imagine the Lions bouncing back from an 0-4 start. And it’s even harder to envision them competing for a Super Bowl soon with the roster looking how it does.
The Stafford-Johnson connection has been fun to watch, but it’s only produced two losses in the Wild Card round. It doesn’t make sense to me, but not everything is supposed to make sense in football.
The bottom line is that Detroit is not winning with this equation — plain and simple. Bail out of it now and get some draft picks for Stafford and Megatron. Rebuild the team. It’s not like Detroit can compete with Green Bay twice a year anyway. Hell, even the Vikings are improving.
And with the current state of the Bears, maybe the rebuild can progress more quickly. I don’t know, but something needs to change though.
Next: San Francisco 49ers