Year in, year out, it seems Lions fans are given outrageous predictions to cling to for hope. Ever since Barry Sanders retired, I feel like that's all us Lions fans have had. Whether it's Jon Kitna predicting 10 wins or Kevin Smith predicting a playoff win after an 0-16 season, it's always something that gets the kool-aid flowing strong right before a new season kicks off. This year, the seemingly cuckoo prediction comes from outside the organization -- Tiki Barber.
On a Yahoo! Sports video segment with host Larry Beil, NFL analyst Tiki Barber and Yahoo! NFL writer Jason Cole were asked to name their NFL darkhorses for the upcoming season -- one from the NFC and another from the AFC (video after the jump). Tiki Barber's prediction had Beil and Cole rolling their eyes and questioning Barber's state of mind:
This one will be a surprise, but I think a lot of people can understand why. When you say the names Calvin Johnson at wide receiver, Nate Burleson at wide receiver, you bring in a young guy at the running back position in Jahvid Best, who was as dynamic a running back in college football as there was last year and then you bring in some experience now, not just a young guy, at quarterback in Matthew Stafford -- I think the Detroit Lions have the offensive firepower to actually do something this year.
Obviously, we know the problem with the Detroit Lions is they couldn't stop a soul, particularly in the running game. There were gaping holes, mack trucks could go through last year, but with the signing of, and I don't usually say this about rookies, Ndamukong Suh to clog up that middle, they may have a chance defensively to stop opposing offenses just enough for their offense to score enough points to win and they could surprise people. It's a stretch, but I'm picking the Detroit Lions.
Larry Beil let Barber finish before he unleashed his "so four wins?" joke. Barber then went out on a limb and predicted nine wins, "at least," for the rising Detroit Lions.
It's funny because we all laugh, but of all the infamous Lions predictions over the past few years, this is the one that has the best chance to come to fruition. The Lions have built a strong nucleus, it's August, the kool-aid is fresh, and everybody's parched from the heat. It feels good for once, though, that a positive prediction for the Lions is actually coming from an outside source, and not from an overly optimistic, loquacious Lion, who ultimately just makes the organization look worse. Thanks for drinking our juice, Tiki.