It’s pretty much safe to say that the national consensus outside the great state of Michigan is that the Detroit Lions will be the bottom feeder of the NFC North in the upcoming 2019-20 NFL season.
However, the constant underestimation of the Motor City franchise is not new – and every year there are teams who prove the experts (the not at all experts) wrong. Last season those teams would end up being the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears.
In my two decades of following the team, I’ve never seen Lions fans more hopeful that the team will prove the critics wrong and this is based almost solely on the roster additions and construction of the squad by Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia this past offseason.
But if the Lions are to make the rest of America look like blind nitwits this season, there are a few players who MUST show up. The list below are those players.
5. OT Taylor Decker
As hopeful as you might be that the Lions offense will shine this season, most of the unit’s success will begin and end with the performance of the offensive line. Decker, entering his 4th NFL season, needs to play at the Pro Bowl-caliber level the Lions hoped for when they drafted him in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Matthew Stafford’s health may just depend on it.