In preparation for the 2015 Detroit Lions season, a new slew of writers and editors chimed in on their predictions for the team.
First up: Who will be the Lions' offensive MVP?
Chris Tomke: Matthew Stafford
I think even the most optimistic fans among us (hi there!) have to acknowledge that the defense is in line for a step back. If we’re accepting that as a given, then there’s no way the Lions make the playoffs without a step -- or ideally a leap -- forward from the offense, and especially from Stafford. I’ll always believe in you, Matt.
Joseph Buszek: Matthew Stafford
The defense won’t be as good as they were a year ago. To be successful in 2015, they’ll need number nine to step up and have a career year. Given all the weapons that surround him now, he’d better.
Alex Reno: Matthew Stafford
This is the year that Matthew Stafford puts it all together. I'm sure you've already heard that plenty of times before, but I truly believe that this is the year for him. It's make or break and there are no excuses. He has the weapons, and he has a year under his belt with Lombardi's scheme, so I expect a career year for him. Don't let me down, Matt.
Ryan Mathews: Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford, with a year of experience in Joe Lombardi’s offense under his belt, will be the Lions’ offensive MVP for the 2015 season. With two bona fide number one wide receivers occupying each side of the field, more depth and experience along the offensive-line and young, versatile playmakers like Eric Ebron and Ameer Abdullah looking like they’re going to make a difference, Stafford has more talent and protection than ever before. While I think he has everything in place to turn this Lions offense into something truly special, I’ve felt this way before in the past when names like Best, Leshoure, and Young peaked expectations and excitement. 2015 is the year all of this "second tier" quarterback talk gets put to rest and Stafford cements his place amongst the best in the game.
Kyle Yost: Matthew Stafford
For the Lions to be successful in 2015, Matthew Stafford needs to have a great season. Going into year two with this coaching staff, and loaded with weapons all around him, there is every reason to believe that Stafford can be one of the league's top quarterbacks. A better offensive line, a dynamic pass-catching back, a healthy superstar receiver, and an improved tight end complete the perfect recipe for Stafford to be the offensive MVP for the Lions.
Drew Erickson: Calvin Johnson
He is still the best player on this team, you just have to take the "when healthy" caveat a little more seriously. Though he missed just three games last year, he was nearly ineffective in another two as he played through an injury. In what almost amounts to just 11 games, he still had over 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns, both top 20 marks. For my ten win prediction to come true, Johnson has to be healthy all season, which is something I am clearly betting on. If he does, I see no reason why he doesn’t play at the same level as previous years.
Christopher Lemieux: Calvin Johnson
Brian Packey: Matthew Stafford
I think this is the year Stafford takes the leap from very good, far-too-often-maligned quarterback to elite, potential league MVP. Calvin Johnson will certainly help.
Justin Simon: Matthew Stafford
I don’t know if he’ll ever get back to his 2011 form, but he has too many weapons to not succeed.
Jeremy Reisman: Calvin Johnson
I'd go with Matthew Stafford, but I think his mistakes will continue to frustrate Lions fans a bit. Calvin, on the other hand, almost never frustrates. With reports out that he's quicker and healthier than he's been in a long time, I'm excited to see how Megatron can elevate his game even more.