Can Suh Mature with the Lions Defense?

By Greg Bolotin

Do the Lions have a chance to win a Super Bowl with their current defense? The easy answer is no. They a have strong front-line led by Ndamukong Suh, Nick Farley, and Chris Avril. After them, there are talented players on the Lions defense, but none that are pro-bowlers.

The Lions did make the playoffs with their defense; they did come up with big plays when needed. This season their defense had to hold opponents, such as Dallas and Minnesota, when they came back from large deficits to win those games.

The Lions defense earned them the reputation of being dirty led by Ndamukong Suh. The Lions want their opponents to fear them. Suh and the rest of the Lions defense are inside their heads. This alone can affect wins and losses. Obviously, as the Lions learned, their defensive reputation as well as poor decision making hurt the team this year.  Suh received a suspension for two games for kicking Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Packers when he was down on the field. The defense received many unnecessary penalties and pass interference these calls only hurt their chances of winning.

The Lions were ranked 23rd against the pass and 22nd against the run this season. This normally says, this team has no chance to compete for a Super Bowl. In the past, this would be true, but the league has changed. The Packers and Patriots are ranked at the bottom for their defenses. But they are at the top of the league when it comes to their offenses. They are not only playing in this postseason but are favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Packers have a couple of big name players on their defense in Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. The Patriots are Tom Brady and everyone else.

The main difference between the Detroit Lions and these teams are very simple: their defense may give up a lot of yards, but when the game is on the line, the Packers and the Patriots defenses stop their opponents and give their offenses a chance to win. Against the Saints in the Wild Card whenever the Lions could have ended a Saint’s drive, the Saints would run or pass and get a first down. The clock kept moving. What’s worse, the Saints utilized every opportunity to score, thus obliterating the Lions.

The Lions could draft or bring in free agents to boost their defense. They have youth on their side as well. The whole defense has learned that they have to play better. They know they have an offense that will score a lot of points. The Packers and Patriots are Super Bowl contenders, despite low defensive rankings they have had for the past few years. The Lions with Stafford at the helm should feel good about their future.

Once they start making key plays on defense to slow opponents down their offense will do their job. A 10-6 record could easily turn into 13-3 record or better. Every team can always improve but the Detroit Lions have a great nucleus of talent. With hard work, they can reach Super Bowl very soon.

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