Could the Detroit Lions improved ground game create an MVP candidate?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Lions have the recipe to run the ball

This past Tuesday, former Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson who is one of the hosts of NFL Network’s ‘Wake up NFL’, declared that he thought the Honolulu Blue and Silver would have the best rushing attack in the NFC North next season.

Considering the success that the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers had running the ball last season, that was a bold statement. But when you look at the components that the Lions will bring to the table, it’s not a far fetched idea to believe they will be much improved on the ground.

It’s also not that hard to believe that with improved blocking from the offensive line, which will need to build some cohesiveness, Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift could possibly be the best one-two punch in the NFL.

Both Johnson and Swift are very talented and capable of being the feature back for many NFL teams. Kerryon Johnson really has only one weakness; injury. His career at both Auburn and so far here in Detroit have been marred by missing time. Yet when he’s been on the field he has been very productive.

Meanwhile, Swift was a durable runner for Georgia who has plenty of mileage left on his tires. The Bulldogs didn’t overuse him and he was not only consistent carrying the ball, but made plays.

The big ‘if’ is if Johnson can stay healthy, but you get the feeling that if Kerryon were to go down to injury again, Swift could carry the load without much difficulty. However, he still wouldn’t have to.

Matt Patricia believes in running back by committee to get the most out of the ground game while also keeping his ball-carriers as fresh as possible throughout the course of the season. Whether Johnson is healthy or injured, Bo Scarbrough who played well last season after being picked up off the free-agent scrap heap will contribute and Ty Johnson was just starting to find his groove near the end of the year.

So with the addition of Vaitai at right tackle and either one or both of the Lions scrappy rookie guards in the lineup, it would seem to be the recipe for the Lions being quite successful on the ground.

This leads to one simple question; can this newfound ground game give the Lions a legitimate MVP candidate?