Schrager: Detroit Lions are under-the-radar Super Bowl contenders
The NFL Network’s Peter Schrager names the Detroit Lions as his selection for the most under-the-radar contenders in the league this season.
Two terms that are rarely said in the same sentence are “Detroit Lions” and “Super Bowl”. So when they are, and by someone who works at NFL Network no less, it’s certainly newsworthy.
At one point last season, the Lions had a 9-4 record, they had a two-game lead over their divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers, and they had a potential league MVP under center in quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Unfortunately, the Lions ended up finishing the regular season with a 9-7 record, losing their final three contests and were one victory away from winning the NFC North. But Detroit did just enough to earn a wildcard bid in the playoffs, their second postseason appearance in three years.
Although they would eventually lose their lone playoff matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, one thing the Lions’ didn’t lose this offseason was very many valuable pieces. Free agency losses like guard Larry Warford and offensive tackle Riley Reiff were quickly replaced by fellow free agents in guard T.J. Lang and offensive tackle Ricky Wagner.
And instead of re-signing a 36-year old wide receiver in Anquan Boldin, the Lions used a third round pick to select Kenny Golladay out of Northern Illinois.
The point being, the Lions are essentially bringing back the same team from last year except their healthier, hungrier and have a few new additions many see as upgrades at their positions. That’s a reason why one NFL insider believes the Detroit Lions are under-the-the radar Super Bowl contenders in 2017.
"“That NFC North is vulnerable,”said NFL Network’s Peter Schrager on an episode of Good Morning Football last week. “I know everyone is going to take Packers every single season. The Lions had the Packers last year until injuries riddled their season. Vikings? We’re not sure what they are and the Bears are in rebuilding mode. Detroit Lions. Don’t be shocked if we wake up on some February Sunday morning and we’re in Minnesota and we’re talking about Matt Stafford and his big Super Bowl dreams. I’m telling you, this team. They’ve got it all coming back, why not?”"
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Obviously, this is when optimism is the highest in the NFL, as every team is undefeated. And when one considers the fact every victory Detroit had last year seemingly had to be won using fourth quarter heroics, some fans may look upon the new season a bit more pessimistically.
But if the Detroit Lions have truly improved their roster, there is likely no better test then their first three games of the upcoming regular season: The Arizona Cardinals, the New York Giants and last year’s Super Bowl contenders, the Atlanta Falcons.