Its been a long time since the Detroit Lions have been the champions of their division. To be more accurate, the Lions haven’t won the division since 1993; that’s 23 years, or 6 and a half leap years. Keep in mind this was back when the division was known as the NFC Central, and Tampa Bay was a rival. Oh, and Detroit still had a pretty good array of offensive weapons, led by Hall-of-Fame tailback Barry Sanders and receiver Herman Moore. Just as disappointing is their playoff record (or lack thereof) in those 23 years, only winning a wild card berth six times and each one ending in defeat.
However, we all know that circumstances can change over time, and right now fortunes are looking mighty good in Motown for the moment. Currently sitting at 8-4, Detroit are in first place in the NFC North, two games ahead of the two previous division champs, Minnesota and Green Bay. After spending several years with average to mediocre quarterbacks under center, they finally have a quarterback in Matthew Stafford that has proven he can guide his team to victory. You can’t knock a guy who so far has passed for 3,224 yards, 21 TD’s, and only five picks. For the receivers, both Golden Tate (3 TD’s) and Marvin Jones (4 TD’s) each have over 700 yards, and veteran Anquan Boldin has contributed 432 yards and 6 touchdowns.
It also helps that both Green Bay and Minnesota have had their share of miscues this season. The Packers lost four straight games between weeks 8 and 11, and the Vikings have lost six of their last seven games. These last four weeks will be tough for all three teams; Detroit especially as the last three games are at the Giants and Cowboys, and closing at Ford Field against the Packers. It’s difficult to predict how the Lions will fare in the home stretch, and from the look at the current standings only one team from the North is getting into the playoffs. The Lions are about due for a major push, and in a city where both the Red Wings and Pistons have won championships within the last 15 years, its time for the kings of the jungle to rise up and roar.