The Detroit Lions offense looked impressive Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens in what was only their second preseason game. Matthew Stafford completed 12 of 17 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. His number one target, Calvin Johnson, had five receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. The Lions are hoping to repeat the success they had a year ago after going 10-6 and making the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Stafford and Johnson both put up career-best numbers in 2011-12. For Stafford, staying healthy was the number one concern entering last season. Prior to 2011, he had never played more than 10 games in a season and people were beginning to doubt if he ever would. Nevertheless, Stafford had a historically great season, compiling 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. He became only the fourth quarterback to ever throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season, putting him in company with Dan Marino, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
As for Johnson, he cemented his image as the most feared wide receiver in the game by posting mind boggling numbers and making spectacular catches week in and week out. His final numbers for the 2011-12 season were 96 receptions, 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. In the Lions playoff game against the Saints, Johnson caught 12 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in a losing cause.
Heading into this season Lions fans can expect more of the same from their two superstars. The question remains however, do they have enough to get past the Green Bay Packers? Not to mention the Chicago Bears, who bolstered their offense by adding wide receiver Brandon Marshall to their roster and re-signing star running back Matt Forte? It will be exciting to watch how it all plays out because the NFC North could potentially send three of its four teams to the playoffs this year.