The Lions season last year went from optimism to a team that crashed down to earth and suffered from bad coaching very quickly. As a result Matt Patricia was added as the head coach in Detroit. The Lions now have some hefty expectations on them. This roster is good, can they finally make the playoffs?
Of course at QB the Lions have Matthew Stafford. A QB who has made the ascension to a top ten QB and it isn’t debatable. Under Jim Bob Cooter Stafford has been insane and will continue to produce this year. Before his offensive line completely broke down last year Stafford looked like an MVP. If he can have another great season, hot take alert, he could be in the running for MVP by the end of the year.
Stafford certainly has the weapons to do so if he wants to compete for the MVP. Golden Tate continues to amaze every year as one of the most physical receivers in the leauge. Marvin Jones Jr. adds a deep threat for the Lions and Kenny Golloday a young spry weapon for Stafford. If you look at what Golloday did last year before his injury it was truly memorizing. A physical, fast, gritty receiver who added another dimension to the offense. Honestly the Lions have one of the deepest receiving cores in the leauge and that goes somewhat over looked. If they can preform this year, look out the passing game in Detroit could be among the best in the NFC.
The backfield in motor city continues to be a mystery though. Ameer Abdullah looks as if he’s been thrown aside as a failed experiment. It’s about time, the runner never stuck and never showed any consistency in Detroit, he’s meant to be a number two back which is what he will be in this new system. The lead back I believe will be Auburn rookie Kerryon Johnson. Johnson really impressed in college and basically single handedly beat Alabama in this year’s iron bowl. The kid is an incredibly tough runner and is going to be impossible to bring down if he gets to the open field this year. Not to mention the Lions also have LeGarrette Blount the hard-nosed former Eagles back who can make an impact when called upon. The Lions focused heavily on fixing their O line this offseason and added center Frank Ragnow in the draft. If the line can solidify perhaps the Lions can finally have a run game in 2018.
The Lions defense however is very concerning. The defensive line contains very little pass rushing talent outside of Ezekiel Ansah who has preformed very well the past few years. The defensive line has good run stoppers like Sylvester Williams but just not a ton of good pass rushers. Pair that with the fact the linebacking core contains young talent but little pass rush in Jarrad Davis and A’shawn Robinson. Davis is insanely talented but only grabbed 2 sacks last year and Robinson was stellar at stopping the run but only put up half a sack. Getting to the QB is going to be a real struggle for this defense. The Secondary is set though under Patricia Glover Quinn and Darius Slay became stars last year. If they can continue there excellent play this year the Lions have potential to compete with the Viking and Packers for the title of best secondary in the division.
The Lions are in a tough spot. They have an insanely tough schedule and tough division but at the same time no real excuses as to why they shouldn’t be a playoff team this year. It all comes down to how Stafford preforms and if the Lions can develop a pass rush, if they can do the latter this team will make the playoffs.
Record Prediction: 9-7