9-8, 2nd NFC North
Will The New Coaching Staff Get This Team To The Playoffs? - The Detroit Lions brought in Matt Patricia, who has been coaching in New England for over ten years prior. Patricia is known for his defensive presence, and also his ability to keep a team clean of penalties. This will certainly help a team that has been among the most penalized over the last few seasons. The Lions have been hovering a few games over .500 over the last few seasons, but have failed to make any noise in the playoffs. Patricia will have a tough task of doing that in his first year, let alone making it in such a tough division.
Can Detroit Get Anything From Their Run Game? - The Lions finished dead last in rushing yards last season, and had the second fewest attempts because most games it was pointless to run. Detroit has invested in their offensive line, and Matt Patricia’s play style should help in this area. They also drafted Kerryon Johnson and drafted LeGarrette Blount, showing they want to invest in this department. Johnson was someone they traded up for, and was a beast at Auburn. Blount could resume a red zone role still, which is his area of expertise. The Lions will likely still use Theo Riddick, who is the passing-down back in Detroit.
How Much Did Detroit Upgrade Their Offensive Line? - The Lions offensive line wasn’t great last year, but they have made a move to jump inside the top ten. They drafted Frank Ragnow, who was a highly touted center in the draft. Graham Glasgow was a bright spot, and guys like T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner were not bad either. The Lions offensive line additions will help in depth, and in rotations if needed. Given they will likely want to run the ball more, Detroit’s pass heavy offense should go more balanced. This will also help Stafford in the pocket, who has taken a beating at times in Detroit.
Is Regression Coming In The Win Department? - The Lions won nine games this past season, and their seasonal over under is around eight under most sites. Detroit’s schedule is already going to be tough because of the division they play in. Facing Chicago, Green Bay, and Minnesota a total of six times is going to be tough already, but adding in Seattle, Carolina, Los Angeles, and New England, those are three more tough games. Detroit is going to have some winnable games, but the amount of them are rather low. If close games start to go against the Lions, the nine wins will be tough to come by.
Will Detroit Regret Not Adding A Tight End? - Eric Ebron didn’t quite pan out for Detroit, and he is off in Indianapolis. The Lions locked in Luke Willson, who has been a backup tight end in Seattle over the last few seasons. Levine Toilolo is not known for receiving, and will be a blocker when on the field. Looking at the Detroit wide receivers, the red zone presence is not a given with the smaller receivers they have. Needing a potential 6’5+ body for Matthew Stafford could be something that comes back to bite Detroit if they fail to do much in the red zone, especially if the backs do.