10 Bold predictions for the 2017 Detroit Lions

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With the new NFL season is upon us, football fans have high hopes for our favorite teams. Some hopes are minimal – just a win or two for the Cleveland Browns, while others dream of another Super Bowl title like the New England Patriots.

For Detroit Lions fans, we have hopes and dreams for this season as well. With the amount of talent on this team, our dreams have the chance to become reality. Now is the time, Lions fans, to make some bold predictions for this upcoming season.

10. BOB QUINN WILL TRADE FOR A DE

Detroit needs another defensive end. This is an area that everyone can agree needs to be addressed. With a season-ending injury to Kerry Hyder, the defensive line needs a playmaker to team up with Ezekiel Ansah. The Lions need a guy who can not only stuff the run but make the quarterback move off his spot and make him uncomfortable.

Bob Quinn is no dummy. He knows what this team needs. I believe that before this year’s trade deadline (Halloween, 4 p.m. ET), Quinn will make a big move to help this team take the next step if we want to be contenders for a Super Bowl.

9. ZIGGY RECORDS 15 SACKS

Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) walks off the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Lions win 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With Ezekiel Ansah being in a contract year, this might not be a bold prediction. Hampered by injuries last season, Ziggy looks to improve on what was a disappointing season. In 2015 Ziggy had his breakout season with 14.5 sacks, so naturally, 2016 was going to be the year of Ziggy. Instead, it was filled with lingering injuries and a very disappointing two sacks in 13 games.

Ziggy is playing for a contract and this normally leads players to play their best. Given the offensive line problems in our own division and playing teams like the Browns and Ravens, get ready for Ziggy to have a huge season.

8. 5 PICKS FOR ‘BIG PLAY’ SLAY

Now, this is bold for the simple reason that Darius Slay has only averaged two INTs per season for the past three years. His skills are amazing. He has great recovery speed and has a great eye for playing the ball. I think with the addition rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis and Ziggy Ansah playing for a contract, quarterbacks may target Slay more and lead to more picks.

Slay has already proven himself to be a top defensive back without the interceptions, but if he hits the five mark, I think this moves him into the upper echelon of defensive backs.

7. JARRAD DAVIS WINS DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Get ready to know this name, Lions fans. Jarrad Davis was the team’s first-round draft pick this year and after watching him in the preseason, fans can see why the Lions chose him. At the University of Florida, Davis had over 200 tackles in his 4-year career. He covers a lot of ground and can cover tight ends better than any other linebacker on Detroit’s roster.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Davis was described by scouts as a Ray Lewis type of linebacker, high praise to say the least. If Davis can stay healthy, I believe he has a good shot at Defensive Rookie of the Year.

6. ERIC EBRON PLAYS A FULL SEASON

January 7, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) reaches for a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to go on a huge limb with this prediction. In the last three seasons, Eric Ebron has only played 13, 14, and 13 games, respectively. Ebron, a fixture in Detroit’s offense, needs to be on the field. Giving Matthew Stafford another option will help to keep our offense on the field and our defense resting.

Ebron is already dealing with a hamstring injury this preseason but will be ready for Week 1. I’m already questioning this bold prediction, but Ebron also needs a contract and I think you will see him on the field for every game this season and postseason.

5. ABDULLAH ECLIPSES 1K

The last time the Detroit Lions had a 1,000-yard rusher was Reggie Bush in 2013 (1,006 rushing yards). The Lions took note of this and added some prized pieces on the offensive line to bolster their lackluster run attack.

The additions of right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Rick (not Ricky) Wagner should make for a more balanced attack and present a great opportunity for Ameer Abdullah to reach 1,000 rushing yards. These two individuals, as well as Abdullah’s big play ability and elusiveness, should give him an excellent chance to reach that 1000-yard mark.

4. MATTHEW STAFFORD IS LEAGUE MVP

Matthew Stafford has always been a guy people say is talented, but that talent hasn’t always materialized on the field. Last year, Stafford was in MVP talks until he hurt a finger on his throwing hand. His leadership ability and toughness are amazing and his arm strength is without question.

His detractors will say his numbers don’t measure up to Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Last season Stafford tossed 24 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions while throwing for over 4,000 yards. Plus, his stats could have been better if his receivers did not drop the ball so much!

3. LIONS WIN 11 GAMES

With a revamped offensive line and a healthy Ameer Abdullah, there is no reason the Lions can’t win 11 games, with the way the schedule is set up.

Detroit has games against the Saints (on the road) and Panthers (at home), who struggled last year and seem to have defensive flaws. They have a great chance to sweep the season series against both the Bears and Vikings within the division, two teams who don’t have nearly the firepower offensively to keep up. The Lions also are slated to play their NFC North Division counterparts in the AFC, which presents more winnable games, specifically against the Bengals, Browns, and Ravens.

The beginning of the season looks a little sketchy but there’s definitely plenty of opportunities elsewhere to collect 11 wins in 2017.

2. DETROIT LIONS – 2017 NFC NORTH CHAMPIONS

This is the season, Lions fans.

Detroit has built a good offensive line through free agency and with Stafford & Co. ready to go, we should expect to see some strong plays. On the defensive side, Ziggy Ansah is healthy, Darius Slay is as tough as ever, and rookie Jarrad Davis has the look of a solid MLB. The defense will look to build on last season.

In the division, The Bears and the Sam Bradford-led Vikings are looking like teams who don’t have any identity. That only leaves the Packers as the team to beat. With Green Bay’s offensive line made up of a bunch of high schoolers and a defense that will be collecting social security after next season, it seems only fitting that would be the season Detroit dethrones the Packers.

The way the schedule shapes up, we have a great chance to win our division.

1. LIONS FINALLY NOTCH A PLAYOFF WIN

The Lions had a great team in 1991. So good, in fact, that the Lions went to the conference championship game only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. Since then, the Lions have not won a single playoff game.

Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times in his career. The Lions have lost every single one of them. That changes this year. Stafford, fully recovered from his finger injury to his throwing hand, a healthy Ameer Abdullah, a reworked offensive line, and a defense that has potential, leads me to believe this is the year our Detroit Lions will win their first playoff game in over 24 years.