Fearless Forecast: How Lions will fare in '07

The Detroit Lions have been a laughingstock ever since Matt Millen became team president in 2001. They have gone 24-72, worst in the NFL. Their losses have been in the double digits each year, but now players are talking about double-digit wins. With the season less than a week away, RoarReport.com offers its season prediction for the Lions.

The Detroit Lions have been a laughingstock ever since Matt Millen became team president in 2001. They have gone 24-72, worst in the NFL. Their losses have been in the double digits each year.

But now players are talking about double-digit wins, because coach Rod Marinelli has cleared most of the problems from the locker room and offensive coordinator Mike Martz has a full complement of weapons. In his second season under the management of Millen, Marinelli has surrounded himself with not only his type of players, but also a coaching staff that reflects his ideals.

Martz is among them, along with defensive coordinator and son-in-law Joe Barry. Unlike former defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, Barry is well-rehearsed in Marinelli's preferred "Tampa Two" defensive scheme. Still, while the exhibition season demonstrated a few of the team's strengths, it was obvious that there is still work that needs to be done.

The Lions expect to be an explosive passing team, and they are probably going to have to be. They have struggled to run the ball, and the defense -- while improved (in theory) -- is questionable, and an already problematic secondary was worsened with the loss of second-year safety Daniel Bullocks.

Yet, with a veteran signal caller in Jon Kitna and a loaded offense, which includes a stacked backfield and even more impressive receiving core, the team might be able to get away with outscoring most of the opposition.

Winnable road contests vary, but look plausible during the September 9 opener at Oakland, October 7 at Washington and a November 11 date with Arizona. If they take care of business at home, the potential to walk away with a winning record is possible.

Look for a lot of shootouts in 2007, and a few more Detroit victories.

RoarReport.com Season Prediction: 9-7 / 2nd / NFC North

Three keys for the season:

  • 1. Quarterback Jon Kitna has to put up the kind of yardage he did last season (4,208), but he has to cut down on the turnovers (22 interceptions, nine fumbles). And he has to stay healthy. The Lions do not have a backup with any real experience.
  • 2. The defensive line has to get to the quarterback. Nose tackle Shaun Rogers can be dominant, but he has to have the health, conditioning and motivation to go four quarters for 16 games. Right end Kalimba Edwards has to finally live up to the pass-rushing potential he is supposed to have. If the defensive line doesn't get it done, the Lions' thin secondary will be exposed.
  • 3. The Lions cannot cave in at the first sign of trouble. This franchise seems to be cursed. One playoff win in half a century? Coach Rod Marinelli has tried to teach his players to be mentally tough. They showed something last season, when after seven straight losses, they went to Dallas and fought to the last play to win their season finale.

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