An Outsider’s View of the Detroit Lions and NFC North


Sep 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) in a huddle during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field. Lions won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

Each week I do a Q&A with the FanSided editor that covers the team the Lions are playing that Sunday. I didn’t want to take a week off just because the Lions are on their bye so I sent five questions over to Josh Sanchez, editor at NFL Spin Zone, to get his view on the Detroit Lions and the NFC North so far. Josh does a great job covering the NFL at Spin Zone, be sure to check it out.

1. Where do the Lions rank in your list of disappointing teams so far?

Josh Sanchez: Coming in to the season, I was worried about the Lions. Their troubling offseason led me to believe that the lack of discipline and accountability ran further than just off-field issues. I had concern that the team would show the same lack of discipline on the field and, so far, it has. While it may be a surprise to some fans that the Lions are struggling, a lot of people had seen this coming.

2. Do you view the struggles of the Packers and Saints as an opening for the Lions to get back in the NFC playoff race or an opportunity they aren’t taking advantage of?

JS: The Lions are definitely still in the race. It’s early in the season and the team’s roster is loaded with young guys. Green Bay’s offense does not look to be as potent as in 2011 and the Saints have put together an awful performance through the first quarter. The Saints have shown no sign of life early and that could be the opening that Detroit needs to turn things around and qualify for the post season.

3. Are the Minnesota Vikings for real?

JS: Absolutely not. The Vikings caught Detroit at the right time and managed to squeeze one out against the 49ers. Outside of those wins, Minnesota has W’s over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. It’s not exactly the who’s who among NFL teams. Minnesota does have an impressive defense but they still leave a lot to be desired. As the season progresses, Christian Ponder will produce more game film that will allow opposing defenses to learn his tendencies.

4. The Chicago Bears were your surprise Super Bowl pick, see any reason to change your mind?

JS: Not at all. I picked the Bears because their defense had the potential to be phenomenal. Against the Cowboys, Chicago showed everyone their championship caliber defense and Jay Cutler and company started to finally pick up some slack. As long as the defense continues to roll, this team is a serious contender.

5. The NFC North standings look very different than most would have figured before the season started, who do you think finishes on top?

JS: When all is said and done, I think the Bears take the NFC North crown. Outside of Chicago, Green Bay has to be the favorite to finish as the runner-up despite their offensive struggles early. Minnesota and Detroit will be in a heated contest to stay out of the division’s cellar and the Lions should finally put things together and go on a run that puts them in Wild Card contention. Expect the division’s standings to finish as follows — Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota.