In most pundit's eyes, the 2016 Detroit Lions seemingly came out of nowhere to earn a Wild Card playoff berth. For much of last season, they even led the NFC North on the strength of eight come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter before an eventual collapse to the Green Bay Packers.
Of course, Detroit's greatest strength was an MVP-caliber performance for much of the year from quarterback, Matthew Stafford. However, even as the Stafford lit the NFL up, the Chicago Bears were still able to compete well with their divisional counterpart franchise quarterback.
Stafford threw just three interceptions in 2016 - all to the Bears, as the 3-13 Chicago team split the season series with their Mo-town opposition.
Even despite those tightly contested battles, one could easily assume the Lions are slowly on the rise towards becoming real contenders. One could also maintain that they are a prime candidate for natural regression given their great fortune last year. A situation that is still too early to fully ascertain.
On that note, our friend Ryan Mathews - senior editor for our sister site Pride of Detroit - joined me to discuss all these developments of a Lions team that's standing on the brink of two extremes.
When will Matthew Stafford get his new contract? What can we expect the figures to be for his new deal? What's up with the retired Calvin Johnson saga in Detroit?
Ryan answers these questions on Detroit and more as we gear up for training camp around the league. (Player link here)
On this episode of WCG Radio
- Ryan Mathews of Pride of Detroit hops on the program to preview all things Lions.
- What's the deal with Matthew Stafford's contract negotiations? Are the Lions waiting on other benchmarks? What kind of numbers can we expect for the 29-year-old?
- Ryan has a noted fascination with Lions rookie back-up Brad Kaaya. We try and get to the bottom of his admiration for the young quarterback.
- Who should the Bears watch out for primarily from Detroit's 2017 rookie class? It looks like Kenny Golladay might be a star in the making.
- Taking a look at Detroit's primary deficiencies on defense. Have they made enough of an improvement to where Stafford doesn't have to put the team entirely on his back?
- How do the Detroit faithful view the Bears currently and why? What's an area Chicago could exploit from the Lions' perspective?
- Retired Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has been in the news aplenty of late. Does he have a legitimate gripe with Detroit's front office? How comparable is this to the Barry Sanders early retirement saga?
- The 2017 season, as noted, could go either way for the Lions. Ryan offers his final, "bold" prognostication on what results to expect for Detroit in 2017.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. Ryan Mathews is a senior editor for Pride of Detroit and is one half of the PODCast. You can follow them both on Twitter @RobertZeglinski and @Ryan_POD.