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LOOK: Detroit Lions have plenty of schedule advantages in 2019

Dec 3, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; General view of Ford Field exterior before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When looking at the Detroit Lions 2019 schedule, the first thing I noticed is that the beginning of the season (first 6 games especially) are going to be quite the challenge. In fact, in my “Detroit Lions’ 2019 ‘Way-too-early’ Game-by-Game Predictions” piece, I have the Lions starting out 2-4 and that includes winning a Week 7 home game against what could be a scary Minnesota Vikings team.

Though I do have the Lions battling back after that and finishing strong, not once did I look at the schedule and think it is favorable in any way.

Well, according to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Lions appear to have the “most favorable schedule” in the NFL. Burke notes moderate travel distances, most rest differential of any team, just a single short road week, one game against an opponent who has more rest, no opponents coming off a bye week, and just one back-to-back road stretch.

Nation, do you think these built-in schedule advantages will propel the Detroit Lions into the NFL Playoffs in 2019?

BONUS CONTENT:

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

After hours and hours of research, all of the so-called “experts” will soon be unveiling their final mock draft of the season and none of them will end up being correct.

I, on the other hand, do not claim to be an expert. Instead, I am just a huge fan of the Detroit Lions who happens to believe to know what the Lions’ biggest needs are and which available prospects can fill those needs.

That being said, here is my final crack at what I believe the “perfect” Detroit Lions’ draft would look like.

Remember, this is NOT what I think Lions’ GM Bob Quinn WILL do in the upcoming draft, it is what I think he SHOULD do.

Round 1, Pick 8

Ed Oliver (DL) Houston

I absolutely LOVE Ed Oliver if he is available when the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the draft. Whether or not he will be available is the big question.

Oliver is an absolute beast and he could come in and make an immediate impact for a Lions defense that should be greatly improved in 2019.

From Dane Brugler (The Athletic):

STRENGTHS: Fluid body control to wriggle off blocks…excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills…shot out of a cannon with his first step…forces holding penalties due to his gap quickness…creates knockback with his speed-to-power skills…ball awareness to track through blocks…uses natural leverage to stay underneath the pads of blockers…better than expected play strength as a run defender…highly aggressive motor and effort never wanes, chasing down plays near the sidelines…dominated from the moment he stepped onto campus and leaves as a three-time All-American, collecting 54.0 tackles for loss over 33 career starts.

WEAKNESSES: Lacks desired frame and length…needs to continue and develop his body and stay in the 280-285 pound range (weighed 274 for most of his final season at Houston)…relied more on motor than brute power to overwhelm blockers in college…not a bull rusher…undeveloped approach with his hands…below- average counter measures once locked up…faced inferior competition in the AAC…several immature moments in college, including an on-field altercation with head coach Major Applewhite regarding a coat issue on the sideline — Oliver has a “young attitude” and has “growing up to do,” according to an NFL scout…missed five games as a junior with a right knee bruise (November 2018) and was limited at the combine with a strained hamstring (February 2019).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Houston, Oliver was one of college football’s most disruptive players over the last three years, spending most of his time at nose tackle for the Cougars. With his football flexibility and natural biomechanics, he has rare athletic ability for the position with the backfield vision to recognize play designs and disrupt from different angles. Oliver still requires time to develop his body, mind and technique at the next level. He will struggle with long-armed blockers who get to his frame and control his chest, but his energy and motor are both elite. Overall, Oliver won’t be a natural fit for every NFL scheme, but he is an ideal one-gap penetrator due to his athleticism, instincts and relentless nature, projecting best when he is lined up closest to the football.

 

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