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  • 25 de fevereiro de 2019 22:48:52 ART

    Best team in NFC North? A third of Lions fans think it’s them Last week Matthew Stafford Jersey , only 18 percent of Detroit Lions fans believed the team was headed in the right direction—the third lowest level of confidence among all 32 SB Nation team communities. At that point, the skepticism was warranted. Detroit looked sluggish on offense and completely lost on defense. The seats were rightfully warming underneath offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and general manager Bob Quinn, and some were even questioning the hiring of head coach Matt Patricia just two games into his tenure.But after the Lions’ drubbing of the New England Patriots on national television, fans are singing a completely different tune. This week, we polled our FanPulse community on the NFC North. The question was simple: Who is the best team in the NFC North?The results are pretty surprising: Fans still believe the Minnesota Vikings are the best in the division, but the Lions are not far behind, garnering over 30 percent of the votes—more than the Packers and Bears combined. Of course, these poll results are also influenced by the horrible week that the rest of the division had. The Packers were handled easily by Washington. The Vikings were embarrassed by the Bills. Although the Bears came out victorious on Sunday, they were trailing in that game until the final five minutes, and people in Chicago are worried about Mitchell Trubisky. Week 3 wasn’t just about the Lions saving their season, but the entire NFC North exposing themselves as flawed. Mike Payton is buying in. A third of Lions fans are buying in. I’m not quite there yet Authentic Ziggy Ansah Jersey , but I will admit the landscape is completely unrecognizable from the division I was looking at last week. Want to be a part of these weekly surveys? Join SB Nation’s FanPulse, a survey of fans across the NFL powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Lions fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse. Self-reflection and self-scouting are two of the most important things a franchise can do during the offseason. During his end-of-the-year press conference, Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia stressed the importance of this.“I will take a hard look at every aspect of this team in the next month, couple months, before the team gets back, and I’ll do everything in my power to improve,” Patricia said. “As always, I’ll start with myself first and anything that I can do to be a better head coach, better leader of this team Youth Quandre Diggs Jersey , better ways to improve myself so that we all can push forward and give ourselves a better chance to win.”Let’s put Patricia aside for the moment, and focus on the rest of the team. Of course, there were plenty of disappointing performances throughout the year, but today, let’s focus on the top performers on the team to see who may be at the core of this roster in the future. Here are the top five graded players both on offense and defense for the entire 2018 season. OffenseThis list is a carbon copy of the top three most important players on offense going forward. In 2018, Kenny Golladay had what many would consider a breakout season—70 catches, 1,063 yard and five touchdowns. At times, he looked like the true No. 1 receiver many expect him to be. At times, he looked like he still has a ways to go. Either way, he’s one of the most exciting pieces going forward.The only player that could arguably be more exciting is running back Kerryon Johnson http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-glover-quin-jersey, who came in just behind Golladay with an 80.8 overall grade. If Johnson can stay healthy, he’ll likely be one of the centerpoints of this offense, both in the run game (641 yards, 5.4 YPC in 2018) and in the passing game (32 catches, 213 yards). Perhaps most surprising is where Matthew Stafford landed on this list. While many viewed 2018 as a significant disappointment from the Lions’ quarterback—and he certainly played poorly at times—the end result is actually a pretty average-to-above-average grade. His 77.8 grade landed him 16th among all quarterbacks—behind the likes of Kirk Cousins (79.3) and Andy Dalton (81.9), but ahead of folks like Dak Prescott (74.6), Derek Carr (73.4) and Cam Newton (70.9).Maybe the most disappointing part of this list is that the only offensive lineman to crack the top five was oft-injured T.J. Lang. The offensive line was supposed to shine in 2018, but the team certainly didn’t take the step that many fans were hoping. That being said, the Lions’ offensive line finished 16th in PFF rankings, which is certainly a small step up from previous years (they ranked 19th last year). DefenseLook at that beautiful, beautiful list. Not only did the Lions have four players with a grade 87 or higher Marvin Jones Jr Jersey , but three of those players happen to be on rookie contracts. The Lions appear to be in a really good spot heading into 2019 at the interior defender position—although it’s worth noting that A’Shawn Robinson will be on the final year of his contract and Damon Harrison Sr. has crossed over into his thirties. Still, this is an extremely promising list of players. The Lions defense made a big turnaround toward the end of the 2018 season, and given that three of these players (Robinson, Hand and Walker) are 23 years old or younger, that means we could be in for a pretty solid defense for the foreseeable future, as long as general manager Bob Quinn continues to upgrade the positions around this framework. OverallIt’s hard to ignore the fact that three out of the four top draft picks of 2018 landed among the top five players on offense and defense. In fact, it’s extremely promising that eight out of the 10 players on the list were drafted by the Lions themselves—though only five of those were drafted by the Lions’ current general manager.Still, it’s a list that can provide a fair amount of optimism after a decisively disappointing year. The future appears to be fairly bright. Now it’s on Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia to keep that positive momentum going with another solid draft and key additions in free agency.