The time has come to put an end to “Same Old Lions”

Being a die-hard Detroit Lions fan is full of anger, disappointment, and pain. Year after year, high expectations are shattered and the team often finds a way to reach new lows. Lions fans have experienced the only 0-16 season in NFL history and have not witnessed a playoff win since 1992. We have seen the Lions draft two of the best players of all time at their positions in Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, only to result in zero Super Bowl wins (or appearances, for that matter).

The phrase “Same Old Lions” has become all too familiar to Lions fans. Even when the team flashes potential and it appears as if they will turn things around, they fall back into old habits and leave fans disappointed and goals unconquered. In 2007, it appeared as if the “Same Old Lions” were history after the team started the season 6-2 with Jon Kitna under center, destined for a playoff berth and even an NFC North championship. However, they completely collapsed in the second half of the season, finishing 7-9 and resorting to the ways of the “Same Old Lions.”

Last season was similar, as the Lions were expecting to be contenders after coming off of a playoff appearance in a game that was arguably blown by the officials. But yet again, the team disappointed and started 1-7, finishing 7-9. After missing the playoffs and losing Calvin Johnson to retirement, fans again were labeling the team as the “Same Old Lions.”

This season is different. This year, the “Same Old Lions” label needs to die. The Lions host the division rival Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday Night Football, with the winner taking the title of NFC North Champion. Games like these are what define a team, and a win against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers would be a defining moment for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

If Stafford is truly an elite quarterback with MVP potential, he needs to show it Sunday night. Stafford has put the team on his back before and carried them to victory, and there is no reason to think he cannot do it again. In his last two games, he has failed to throw a touchdown and has thrown two interceptions and lost a fumble. Stafford is better than that and needs to prove it this Sunday.

Darius Slay has practiced this week and appears healthy, which is a major boost to a defense that got torched by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

Even if the Lions lose, they can still make the playoffs with a Washington Redskins loss. But entering the playoffs on a three game losing streak would be embarrassing after having ample opportunity to win the division.

The Detroit Lions undoubtedly have a chip on their shoulder heading into Sunday night. The Packers are on a five game winning streak and are favored to win the game. The Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary play will be replayed over and over again, to the dismay of Lions fans. If the Lions want to put an end to the “Same Old Lions” and be respected around the league, they need to play to their full potential Sunday night and claim the NFC North title for the first time since 1993.

When they do, the “Same Old Lions” label will finally die.

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