NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
Oct 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Lions won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Fans are always wondering whether their team will make the playoffs. In the case of the Detroit Lions, there are a few reasons to believe they’ll do much better than they did last year.

Of course, it’s up for argument. There are plenty of folks that’ll say the Lions had plenty of “close but no cigar” wins in 2016 and that there’s no reason to think it’ll change in this year’s campaign.

But, there are a few factors that could turn the tide.

Improved Defense

If the Lions can tackle what was a horrible pass defense last year (tied for the 10th worst defense in DVOA and had the fourth-worst passing defense since 87), it could really give them a shot in 2017. And, the team, in fact, has bulked up their back seven so there’s no reason to believe that the defense will be as bad as last year.

Revamped Offense

Of course, it’s way too early to tell if the offensive line has improved any. But, in adding TJ Lang and Rick Wagner, general manager Bob Quinn is on the right track. Though Lang may not be a fantastic run blocker and the same could be said of Wagner, they’re certainly better than Larry Warford and Riley Reiff.

The Lions also took on Michael Roberts at the tight end position and as far as one can tell, based on what we could see during the OTAs, he looks good to go as the primary blocking tight end. At least, it’ll give Eric Ebron some leeway for running routes and grabbing the ball.

The Matthew Stafford Factor

Let’s be honest, it’s going to be practically impossible for the Lions to repeat the staggering come-from-behind wins they had last year.

All but one of the team’s nine wins in 2016 came in one-possession games.

Yes, the Lions were actually outscored by practically all opponents last year and yet they made it to the postseason.

Obviously, plenty all of it had to do with Matt Stafford’s abilities. Say what you will, but the naysayers shouldn’t determine this team’s chances of making a better run this year.

Argue what you will, but even with last year’s less than impressive defense, this team made it to the playoffs. And, in considering the above factors it should give hope that 2017 will be much better for the Detroit Lions.

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