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Ok I know Ladainian Tomlinson is with the Jets already. But that is one great stiff arm.

As I’ve hinted so many times already, I like watching the NFL. For more than a decade now I’ve been following how the team’s have progressed through each season. Although to be honest having the internet around has helped me keep tabs of the game. Seeing that I am in Philippines and it is so hard to find someone to talk to regarding the game. Rare I mean rare. Sometimes I find someone willing to talk to yet horrendously lacking in what I know. (e.g. One guy only knows the quarterback, the other only knows people who are in offense, other guy only sees highlights) It’s hard. So I have contented myself through the years to just read and watch on my own. Oh and don’t forget Fantasy Football.

Why do I like it so much? Well to me there’s no other sport that combines the following things so seamlessly in one package.

• Cranial Strategy
• Selfless Team Excecution
• Heroic Determination & Sacrifice
• Malicious Intent (Especially malicious intent.)

So every year, I check the net, check the stat sheets (yes Fantasy Football) and watch how everything is doing, because I like American Football. And each year I make a list of teams I will follow for that season. This series will focus on the which teams who have made my list. Let’s start with.

Detroit Lions
For those in the know, I’m sure it’s an obvious “What the?!?” moment for you. The Lions have been the league’s perennial doormat for decades now. I mean two seasons ago they were winless. 0-16. But I think things are looking up for them. Gone are the days of abysmal general manager Matt Millen. Making the worst string of picks ever in the league. With a new regime in, waiting to erase the mistakes of the past, they are making some fine moves. First they get an A-  for me in the draft, by beefing up their defense (Suh) and getting an explosive player for their running game (Best). Not to mention the signing of veteran players (Burleson, Vanden Bosch, Corey Wiliams) will put some leadership into this team. , I believe the Lions will establish respect first this season and head to the playoffs in a season or two. My prediction (5-11)

Players to Watch and Why:

Matthew Stafford (Quarterback)

I just like how this guy is doing. His offensive line is starting to click under him. He’s mature enough to lead an offense and given time I think he’ll go elite. And of course the eye opener for me is how he kept playing in a game last year against the Cleveland Browns with a separated left shoulder. Playing through an injury is just plain heroic in my definition. And I tend to like players who exhibit this type of heroism from time to time. Matthew Stafford is no exception.

Calvin Johnson (Wide Reciever)

Ah Calvin Johnson, he would have been one of the best receivers out there except for the fact that he’s playing for the Lions. Big and very athletic, which is prototypical to be a very good receiver in this league. I’ve seen highlight reels of this guy and man can he catch. I’m sure he catches well since he’s had several quarterbacks this side of zero passing at him. Now that he’s had a year gelling with Stafford, he will produce. If the pre-season is any notice the Lion’s offense will be hot and Calvin Johnson will be there to catch Stafford’s passes.

Jahvid Best (Running Back)

Jahvid Best appears to be one of those elusive speed runner types. Although my preference is always to the power running game, sometimes I find looking at Marshall Faulk types making highlight reels fun too. And I understand the Lion’s organization just see shades of Barry Sanders when they see Best play. Not to mention that he did bounce back from a very serious injury. Click here for the video.

Ndamukong Suh (Defensive Tackle)

It's obviously a facemask penalty. But nastiness is what counts. NASTY!!

Ah what’s not to like about Ndamukong Suh, whose name means “House of Spears” in his native language from Cameroon (Somewhere in Africa). This rookie will definitely be a force as a defensive tackle in the Lion’s revamped 4-3 defense. Add to the fact that he has Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams beside him. The Lion’s line will just rule.  Although everything else about that defense is still suspect. Rebuidling will always start from the trenches. And if the picture shows any hint for what’s to come, Suh will just be nasty. There is of course some guilty pleasure of mine screaming a hard to pronounce African name during a highlight reel. Ndamukong Suh!!! My new Dikembe Mutombo.
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