As we learned with yesterday’s compilation of Week 1 power rankings, most analysts don’t have many, if any, expectations for the 2016 Detroit Lions. In fact, most are expecting this to be a bottom 10 team, as we saw in the CBS 2017 mock draft, which had the Lions selecting eighth overall.
But there is one true warrior fighting against the national War on Lions Football. One analyst who bucks the conventional groupthink of football talking heads. One guy who you can point to your friends and say, “See, he thinks the Lions are going to be good this year,” in a desperate measure to prove your own sanity to your peers as you sneak another swig of Kool-Aid from your Honolulu blue flask.
That man is Marshall Faulk of NFL Network. On the season preview episode of “NFL GameDay,” Faulk and his cohorts were asked to pick a team who had not made the playoffs in 2015 that will make it this season. Here are all of their choices:
2016 Playoffs— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 7, 2016
Who's in, who's out?
OAK replaces DEN
IND replaces HOU
DET replaces WAS
NYG replaces MIN pic.twitter.com/qjTmOJJqFC
Interestingly enough, Kurt Warner selected the Lions’ Week 1 opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, but let’s get back to Faulk.
Here’s what Faulk had to say to back up his pick:
“It’s their time. Calvin Johnson — as great of a receiver as he is — Matthew Stafford got stuck on him. And now you throw Marvin Jones in there, boy, Golden Tate, they have options — Ameer Abdullah in the back, Anquan Boldin. Listen, wherever Anquan goes, the receiver room, they play up, because he demands it.”
In his career as an analyst, Faulk has been very fair to the Detroit Lions. He hasn’t shilled for them disproportionately, nor has he been unfairly critical of the organization. He gave Matthew Stafford some deserved criticism during his struggles in 2014, but he has also expressed his love for running back Theo Riddick.
So it appears his belief in the Detroit Lions is coming from a genuine place, and not simply an outlandish take made to garner some attention — though he certainly grabbed ours.