The 2011 Lions made the team’s first playoff appearance since the Charlie Batch era in 1999, but were swiftly dispatched by the Saints in the first round. Matt Stafford threw for 5,000 yards and 40+ touchdowns. In any other year, that might have been a huge deal, but Drew Brees was busy breaking single-season passing yardage records. Now the Lions, having solved precisely none of their very glaring issues, hope to improve upon a landmark season for a woebegone franchise.

Five Fast Facts About the Lions:

– Nate Burleson is allergic to certain brands of Internet browsers.

– After being sucker punched by Titus Young during OTAs, Louis Delmas became the official team bitch and is responsible for the sexual satiety of the roster.

– Fans of Boise State will be glad to know that Kellen Moore will continue to only be known for his exploits at Boise State.

– Tony Scheffler is the person who still watches “Weeds”.

– Kyle Vanden Bosch only looks like a white supremacist. He’s really believes everyone should be on equal footing, above the Jews.

Notable acquisitions: Reilly Reiff, Jacob Lacey, Sean Jones, Jonathan Scott, Drew Coleman

Notable departures: Eric Wright, Drew Stanton, Aaron Berry

Just a friendly reminder not to try to jam Megatron at the line:

Vegas win total over/under: 9.5 wins

KSK verdict: UNDER

Fantasy player you’ll want to dig at with rusty hooks: Kevin Smith

No one has any idea when or if Javid Best will return to the fold, and Mikel Leshoure is suspended for the first two games of the year, leaving Smith as the default feature back in what is otherwise an explosive offensive. So far, some fantasy mavens are saying Smith has been available as far back as the 14th round in some drafts. If you can land him that far back, what the hell, go nuts. Before, say, the seventh round, taking you entitles you to a world of hurt.

Fan forecast, by Detroit4lyfe:

What a calendar year for the Lions!

*inhale*

They made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, and lost. They drafted another WR who just happens to be coming off an ACL injury, this time in the 2nd round when the more apt decision would’ve been addressing the secondary that helped Matt Flynn get paid and was subsequently ripped to shreds by the Saints in the aforementioned playoff loss. Calvin Johnson, after inking a $100 million contract, was voted on to the cover of the most predictable sports curse there is next to the Chicago Cubs. Cliff Avril and the team were, and still are, at odds over his contract. Ndamukong Suh is being sued, which was only a matter of time given his punny name. There were six or seven player arrests, which led to the release of a promising cornerback, Aaron Berry, and a two-game suspension of the now-healthy RB Mikel Leshoure. Other RB Jahvid Best’s concussions have him currently on the PUP list and nobody seems to know when or if he’ll ever come off it. And getting back to that shitty secondary, starting safety Louis Delmas just had knee surgery, rendering him a big ole question mark to start the season.

How’s all that for diluting the effervescent Kool-Aid that runs through the veins of masochist Lions fans before kickoff?

Stay Puft, though, because as long as mayonnn Matthew Stafford and Megatron Calvin Johnson can stay healthy, the Lions are going to make the Motor City purr, or vroom I guess.

Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew are finally building an NFL team (a dubious title for Lions teams in the past), built similarly to the 2000s Colts, that has a certain swagger to it and has the media so confused it doesn’t know what else to call it but dirty and potentially Super Bowl contender-ish.

Best case ever scenario: the Lions overcome what always seems to be tough schedule, make the playoffs again, win their first playoff game since 1991, win again and go on to win in their first Super Bowl — that big game at the end of the football season with the Detroit car commercials. I would pee my pants.

However, while the Lions have been trending up since going 0-16 in 2008, I’m concerned there will be a little regression this season. The secondary is so weak I’m not sure a strong D-line and LB corps can offset it. The offense could be even better this season, but if the defense puts them into multiple 20-point holes again, how likely is it for them to dig out of it again? I’ll still go out on a limb and predict nine Jim Schwartz overly-aggressive fist-pumps this season, that’s nine wins (and hopefully zero attacks on poor-mannered opposing coaches who just beat him), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions missed the playoffs and left fans shitting their pants.