To get ready for the 2013 season, Pride Of Detroit's writers weighed in with predictions on a variety of topics. You can make your own predictions by voting in the poll at the end of this post, and you can see what our writers had to say below.
Next up: Who will the Detroit Lions' special teams MVP be in 2013?
Eric Shinabarger: Sam Martin
In the preseason, Sam Martin showed why the Lions used a valuable draft pick on a punter. Lions fans have long been subjected to poor punting costing the team the field position battle on a weekly basis. Last season, Lions punters averaged over 4 yards less per punt than their opponents and had 10 fewer punts inside the 20. The addition of Martin has already turned things around by improving the Lions’ average punt distance by over 7 yards compared to last year, and coaches have praised both his directional kicking and strong leg on kickoffs.
Nick Catoni: David Akers
David Akers is not Jason Hanson, and it’s going to be hard to accept that this season. But the Lions won’t succeed without Akers doing his best to emulate Detroit’s all-time leading scorer. I believe Akers does enough to make Lions fans accept him as a replacement for Hanson, and if that’s not enough to be special teams MVP, I don’t know what is.
Sean Yuille: Sam Martin
The Lions have really struggled in the punting game in recent memory, but that should change this year with the addition of Sam Martin. He showed in the preseason that he can boom punts, and he also showed an ability to pin teams deep on their own side of the field. I think he will be a valuable weapon for the Lions on special teams.
Jeremy Reisman: David Akers
I don't expect much out of the return game, which basically means this is a battle between kicker and punter. And since this is the most valuable player, a kicker literally adds value to a team, while a punter only plays when the team has failed. I don't expect special teams to be very good or bad this year, so by default: David "Kickalicious-Killer" Akers.
Brian Packey: David Akers
A bounce-back year from the veteran kicker in a new uni will soften the blow of the first permanent change at kicker for the Lions in 21 years.
Christopher Tomke: Sam Martin
With the KR/PR position still unsettled, this becomes an easy choice. The Lions’ awful punting put the defense in far too many short-field situations in 2012; I expect that to change in 2013. His punts have so much hang time that the coverage units can practically fair catch it themselves.