NFC North a two-team race between Lions and Packers

Posted by ttwentyman on January 31, 2012 – 4:49 pm

All wins count the same in the NFL (I stole that one from Lions head coach Jim Schwartz), but winning the division is the easiest route to postseason success.

Former Lions coach Steve Mariucci, who’s now an analyst for the NFL Network, thinks the NFC North will be a two-team race between the Lions and the Packers over the next few seasons.

“I don’t see the Vikings being a factor for a while,” he said. “I don’t see the Bears really being a factor. I believe it’s a two-horse race over there with the Packers and the Lions.

“You have to build your team around winning your division. When you have a team like the Packers, that likes to spread you out with all of those weapons, you have to be able to match-up with the Packers. That means more cover guys. More corners. And I think that’s where (the Lions) will go in the draft – (offensive) tackle, corners and maybe another linebacker.”

Mariucci, who had Joey Harrington at quarterback when he coached the team, said the Lions have their most important piece in place to compete for a long time in quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“Matthew Stafford is exactly what that organization needs,” he said. “The players rally around him because he’s a tough guy. He’s a confident kid.

“He’s got the baseball hat on backwards and he doesn’t care about all the other stuff. He just wants to play football and he has a very, very bright future. They are surrounding him now with talent and a pretty darn good defense and they’ll be right in it.”

Mariucci likes some of the current pieces the Lions have in place, but insists that some holes have to be filled before they’re on the same playing field as the Packers.

“I think Ndamukong Suh is pretty darn good,” he said. “They added some linebackers and I like their safety (Louis) Delmas, he’s a pretty good player.  I like (Kyle) Vanden Bosch and (Cliff) Avril and Corey Williams isn’t bad.

“If they are going to need help, to me, their front seven isn’t the priority that needs help. I think it’s their secondary. They also have to decide what to do with (left tackle) Jeff Backus, he’s getting a little older. He’s been good over the years, but they have to secure a left tackle for the future and a couple corners.”

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “NFC North a two-team race between Lions and Packers”

  1. By Kevin Kbakil on Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    I really liked Mooch as the coach, just too much negativety to overcome. Then he left it to Marinelli and the bottom fell out, SAD. But Mooch still had Matt Millen as a GM. Even though Millen overlooked the Rooney rule and brought black coaches in for token interviews but I’ll move on. Mooch and I both thought J. Harrington had that “it”, we were mistaken. He also drafted C. Rogers very high

  2. By Andrea L. Molinari on Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    This statement by Mariucci about the Vikings and Bears is disrespectful and…well, stupid. The Vikings were not nearly as bad as people make them out to be (we were trailing them…by a lot… in the first match-up and Joe Webb made us look pretty bad if I recall and that was when they had ‘nothing to play for’). If Ponder improves, they will be trouble. As for the Bears… (God knows that I hate those guys) but if they got their hands on a couple of decent weapons at WR… no good. They have a defense that always gives us trouble and a legitimate running game. Add a true number one WR to go with Earl Bennett and maybe a good TE. That would not be good news.

  3. By bri on Feb 3, 2012 | Reply

    love to see Detroit draft an o-lineman with that first pick. Suh and fairley will beat him into a stud real quick. then with the next 4 picks get some db’s and a speedy linebacker. problem solved. stay healthy and we’ll see you in the playoffs for years to come.

  4. By Detroit Lions #1 on May 2, 2012 | Reply

    After the moves the Bears made getting Marshall and Bush, it won’t be as easy as I’d like, BUT. The Lions will fight it out and win the North. TOUGH division though, maybe the toughest.

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