Welcome to our yearly tradition of making predictions for the Detroit Lions regular season. You know why you’re here so I won’t keep you waiting with an intro you’re going to skip.
On to the predictions!
Detroit Lions 2017 Season as told by DSN
Paul Rochon – Media Analyst
I’ve crunched the numbers and they’re nothing special. My own calculations say the Lions should average 8.45 wins if forced to play the season repeatedly. I’m glad they don’t have to because while I actually expect the Lions to be a better team this season, it will likely be a disappointing year against an unforgiving schedule. That, and what I consider the NFL’s worst coaching staff will keep the win column on the short side of that number. This team can go as far as they allow Matthew Stafford to take them but even with an MVP type season, they’ll be bottlenecked by what was the league’s worst defense last season.
Bob Quinn did nothing to address a nonexistent pass rush and may have whiffed on his attempt to shore up the secondary. Injuries on both sides of the line will be felt early and often. An intriguing schedule quirk has the Lions most difficult games at home which presents some uncertainty given their vastly better performance in Detroit. You have to win your home games in the NFL and those will be difficult, but they also turn what would be almost guaranteed road losses into swing games at home. This is a team that isn’t far off from their NFC daddy, the Green Bay Packers, but there will be struggles in what could be a brutal first half. Fingers crossed that results in a new coaching staff.
“Kool-Aid” Don Drysdale – Managing Editor
In my mind, the Detroit Lions are a better all-around team now than they were in 2016. The offense will get back Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick to improve the running game and have added rookie Kenny Golladay, who could prove to be a force in the green zone (money zone). Defensively speaking, the Lions were AWFUL in 2016, though those who only look at basic stats may try to argue that. Bob Quinn drafted Jarrad Davis out of Florida to make an immediate impact at MLB and by most accounts, he looks like the real deal. Despite losing DE Kerry Hyder for the season, Ezekiel Ansah has to prove he was not a splash in the pan and I think he will do just that.
Will that be enough to overcome a schedule which looks to be more difficult than a season ago? I am going to go with my gut and say it is. The key to the season for the Lions will be to weather the storm early on, as the schedule is not friendly out of the gates. 10-6 may or may not be enough to win the NFC North, but it certainly will give them a hell of a chance in a division which has been dominated by the hated Green Bay Packers.
Neil Brusch – Detroit Lions Contributor
Matthew Stafford plays like a $135 million quarterback and continues to improve under Jim Bob Cooter. With Ameer Abdullah rushing for 1,000 yards behind the new right side of their offensive line, Stafford finally shows the world who he is. With a faster, more physical back seven on defense, the Lions go into their bye week 5-3. The Lions only lose two games for the rest of the season and sweep the division. Stafford finishes with 4,200 yards, 38 TDs, 8 INTs and locks up the 3rd seed in the NFC. (Editors note: Maybe that “Kool-Aid” tag was misplaced)
Rob Otto – Detroit Lions Contributor
The schedule in the first half of the season is brutal for the Lions. Their first eight games bring four teams that won double-digit games last season, including a Super Bowl squad (the Atlanta Falcons). We saw what the Lions looked like against good teams at the end of last year. Among the three teams they play in that stretch that were below .500 last year, the Arizona Cardinals have beaten Detroit the last seven times they have played and the Carolina Panthers, who made the Super Bowl two seasons ago, have a healthy Cam Newton returning. The Lions will struggle to even be 2-6 at the midway mark, which means they would need to go 7-1 to even have a shot at a Wild Card berth. This team is far too inconsistent in every aspect of the game for that kind of run, especially once it feels like they have nothing to play for.
AJ Reilly – Detroit Tigers Editor
With the strength of schedule being as tough as it is combined with their weak defense and an unsure coaching staff, the Lions will be a .500 team. That, however, could be enough to sneak into the playoffs, though it’s unlikely.
Carl Poposki – Detroit Lions Contributor
Ryan Griffin – Detroit Pistons Editor, Distressed Spartan
The injuries on both sides of the line and an already lackluster defense are going to be more than the Lions can handle. For a team that was hovering around .500 completely healthy, their slow start to the season will be the proverbial nail in the coffin, as Stafford wastes MVP numbers on a team that’s never seriously in playoff contention.
Matt Bassin – Detroit Lions Contributor, Distressed Spartan #2
They are the Lions.
The offensive line still can’t give Stafford a running game. The defense is good but not good enough to win multiple football games, in fact, they sucked against the pass all of last season. Betting on Stafford to have eight 4th quarter comebacks again is just not likely. Unless the running game becomes something opposing defenses need to focus on and the defense can stop making journeyman quarterbacks look other-worldly, 8-8 or 9-7 is their ceiling.
Michael Whitaker – Detroit Red Wings Editor
Too many injuries to overcome will set the team back a step from last year, even with the new additions.
Jeff Bilbrey – Editor in Chief
(Editors Note: Jeff runs DSN. Just like every decision he makes, reasoning is not required because he’s the boss.)