Here we are, the beginning of the 2017 season for the Detroit Lions. What better time to put out a season preview. First I’ll address the key additions and losses, followed with my 3 strengths for this team, then my record prediction wrapped up with my 5 bold predictions.
Let’s start with the key additions and losses. (Not in any specific order)
1. QB, obviously this a no brainer here especially after Stafford hefty extension. As we saw with last years Stafford led 8 comebacks. 2. O-line, even though Taylor Decker is injured I don’t see him missing more than 5 or 6 games. So as long as Greg Robinson doesn’t play horribly we should be alright. Once decker comes back I see this as a top 5 O-line (Decker, Robinson, Swanson, Lang, Wagner). 3. DBs, we are deeper than ever at defensive back. With Slay/Lawson/Hayden/Tabor/Diggs/Agnew at CB and Quin/Wilson/Killebrew/Washington at safety I don’t expect very many big play on this Lions D.
Here are my game-by-game projections:
Week 1 ARI @ DET 21-17 W 1-0
Week 2 DET @ NYG 28-17 L 1-1
Week 3 ATL @ DET 34-24 L 1-2
Week 4 DET @ MIN 21-17 L 1-3
Week 5 CAR @ DET 31-28 W 2-3
Week 6 DET @ NO 27-21 W 3-3
Week 8 PIT @ DET 34-24 L 3-4
Week 9 DET @ GB 27-21 L 3-5
Week 10 CLE @ DET 31-17 W 4-5
Week 11 DET @ CHI 17-10 W 5-5
Week 12 MIN @ DET 24-17 W 6-5
Week 13 DET @ BAL 17-14 W 7-5
Week 14 DET @ TB 28-24 L 7-6
Week 15 CHI @ DET 28-14 W 8-6
Week 16 DET @ CIN 21-14 W 9-6
Week 17 GB @ DET 24-21 W 10-6
Now, there are never guaranteed wins/losses for any team going into any game. To me, there are five big games that could change the record entirely.
Week 5: CAR at DET. As for Carolina, we all know what they are capable of on both sides of the ball but for some reason last year they didn’t show it, depending on which Panthers team shows up, I see this as a win at home.
Week 6: At NO. this game will be very close but still high scoring, I do have Lions coming out on top due to the Lions defensive upgrades.
Week 13: At BAL. is also a big game in where we don’t know which Ravens team will show up, but as of now, I see it as a win.
Week 14: At TB. with all of the additions the Bucs made via draft/FA this is officially a formidable team and that’s why I see us losing this one.
Week 17: GB at DET. This could be the biggest game of the year wether we are playing for the NFC North or just a playoff spot. I think the Lions will finally pull off the win vs the PackersAmee.
5 Bold Predictions:
Ameer Abdullah rushes for at least 1,000-yards: This prediction probably wouldn’t be so bold if we weren’t talking about the Lions. Having been in the bottom five for rushing the last three years in a row we now have a formidable O-line with the signing of RT Rick Wagner and RG T.J. Lang along with Abdullah, who looks 100% healthy.
The defense ranks top-10: Although this defense was one of the worst vs the pass last season, we have added pieces, spending our first and second-round draft selections on LB/CB (Jarrad Davis, Teez Tabor) and signing more depth (Paul Worrilow, D.J. Hayden). Now with free-agent LB Zach Orr trying to come back, he would be a great addition as well.
Darius Slay leads the league in INTs: This may be the boldest of the predictions, but per reports, Slay has been working on making plays on the ball and is trying to get as many picks as possible. Although he only has six in his career I could see him possibly getting that many this season.
Matthew Stafford throws for 5,000+/36TD/12INT: Stafford has three very good receivers along with TE Eric Ebron who had a “breakout” year last season. This is a lot more realistic than the other predictions as Stafford has had numbers like this before. I think Cooter will open up the offense and have him slinging the rock.
Jim Caldwell gets fired: with the 9-7 record last year we are expecting another playoff run and anywhere between 9-7/12-4 is a possibility. In saying this, Caldwell has made questionable decisions and was being called to be fired by many fans. Personally, I like Caldwell. and don’t think he’ll get fired as long as we aren’t a total dumpster fire.
Photo Credits: Sideline Report
Sports writer and analyst. Currently with the-sportstalk.com as the Oklahoma City Thunder writer. Also with LionLowdown.com as a writer.