Tyler Monahan takes a look at the Detroit Lions’ current roster and makes his predictions for the franchise ahead of the new NFL season.
The Detroit Lions are not in the most desirable of positions heading into the 2020 season. Consistently underachieving even with a roster that looks not half bad, this season looks like it’s going to be more of the same in Detroit.
Playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the NFC North, Detroit has been bringing up the rear for quite some time now. Having to play against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears six times a year is no easy task and while the Lions find ways to keep things close they seem to always fall just short. Coming off of a 3-12-1 season there isn’t a ton of optimism in the Motor City, but things can’t possibly worse than last year.
Once again led by veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford the Lions offense doesn’t seem to be the overwhelming issue. Year in and year out they continue to put up solid numbers, this past year they had the ninth ranked passing offense thanks to the growing connection between Stafford and star receiver Kenny Golladay. Besides Golladay the Lions have other weapons in the receiving game, wide receivers Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are solid enough options that opposing defenses have to constantly be on their toes when all three share the field.
On the ground the Lions have two young running backs that look like they can each carry the load. Kerryon Johnson has shown glimpses of the star work horse ability that made the Lions take him in the second round of the 2018 draft but the only issue is that he can’t stay on the field. With no consistent running back the Lions went back to the draft and took D’Andre Swift in the beginning of the second round this year. Swift has the looks of a star and if he is given early down opportunities he should be able to take the reigns as the top dog in the backfield. A more balanced attack this year on offense should help the Lions be a bit more competitive than the last few years.
The Detroit Lions defense is just flat out bad, simple as that. The pass rush doesn’t get much pressure, the linebackers are severely mediocre and the secondary is one of the worst in the league. The Lions do have reinforcements coming though, because of how bad they were last year they received the third overall pick in the draft where they took star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah out of Ohio State.
One player won’t change an entire group but the Lions will take all the help they can get, especially a player who can potentially match up against the opponents best offensive threat. Ranked as the second worst pass game defense in the entire league, if the Lions can fix the secondary they will be one step closer to competing with the rest of the NFC North.
It’s going to be another season of pain for Lions fans as the team doesn’t look ready to take a step forward in a tough division just yet. The offense should continue to be solid with a new and improved run game but the defense is what’s going to hold them back from being anything other than a cellar dweller.
I think the NFC North is going to beat up on the Lions this season, and besides just the division the rest of the Lions schedule is no cakewalk. Five wins might be a safer prediction, I just don’t see this team getting close to winning over six games.
He isn’t the workhorse of the Lions backfield just yet but D’Andre Swift has the talent to take the job early in the season. Both a threat between the tackles and in the pass game he has a chance to be one of the most involved rookies in the NFL if the Lions give him the chance. If the Lions exceed expectations and he is part of the reason that would also help his cause