We put a bow on the first week of NFL previews with a look a team that hasn’t had a lot of good luck in the NFL in the last 25 seasons. Yes, I’m talking about those Detroit Lions. After years and years of suffering, the Lions HAVE to be due for a big season though. Is this the year that Detroit explodes on to the league?
How will the Lions respond to losing Calvin Johnson to retirement?
Can the defense step up their game to another level and help propel Detroit into the playoffs?
The Lions won six of their last eight games last season. Can they keep the momentum going this season?
Let’s find out!
Record Last Ten Seasons: 7-9 (2015), 11-5 (2014), 7-9 (2013), 4-12 (2012), 10-6 (2011), 6-10 (2010), 2-14 (2009), 0-16 (2008), 7-9 (2007), 3-13 (2006)
Last Playoff Appearance: 2014 Wildcard vs. Dallas Cowboys
Last Playoff Win: 1991 Divisional vs. Dallas Cowboys
Super Bowl Titles Won: 0
Passing Leader for 2015: Matthew Stafford (4,262 yard, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions)
Rushing Leader for 2015: Ameer Abdullah (597 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Receiving Leader for 2015: Calvin Johnson (1,214 yards, 9 touchdowns)
The Head Coach:
Overall Record (as a head coach): 44-36
Record With Team: 18-14
Previous NFL Jobs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterbacks Coach (2001), Indianapolis Colts Quarterbacks Coach and Assistant Head Coach (2002-2008), Indianapolis Colts Head Coach (2009-2011), Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach (2012-2013)
My Grade: C
(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)
Player Grade Guide:
Blue = Elite Player
Green = Really Good Player
Orange = Average Player
Pink = Meh
Red = NO THANKS
Gray = Rookie
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Ameer Abdullah
FB: Michael Burton
WR: Golden Tate
WR: Marvin Jones
TE: Eric Ebron
OC: Travis Swanson
OG: Larry Warford
OG: Laken Tomlinson
OT: Riley Reiff
OT: Taylor Decker
DE: Ziggy Ansah
DT: Haloti Ngata
DT: Tyrunn Walker
DE: Devin Taylor
LB: Tahir Whitehead
LB: DeAndre Levy
LB: Kyle Van Noy
CB: Darius Slay
CB: Nevin Lawson
SS: Rafael Bush
FS: Glover Quin
vs. @ Indianapolis Colts (September 11)
vs. Tennessee Titans (September 18)
vs. @ Green Bay Packers (September 25)
vs. @ Chicago Bears (October 2)
vs. Philadelphia Eagles (October 9)
vs. Los Angeles Rams (October 16)
vs. Washington Redskins (October 23)
vs. @ Houston Texans (October 30)
vs. @ Minnesota Vikings (November 6)
vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (November 20)
vs. Minnesota Vikings (November 24)
vs. @ New Orleans Saints (December 4)
vs. Chicago Bears (December 11)
vs. @ New York Giants (December 18)
vs. @ Dallas Cowboys (December 26)
vs. Green Bay Packers (January 1)
What do you want me to say here guys? I really want to be optimistic and say something like “This is it. This is the Detroit Lions year. They are getting a playoff win this season and finally taking the next step in the NFL”. You know what’s stopping me from saying that though? THEY ARE THE DETROIT LIONS! No other NFL franchises fans have been tormented more than the Lions’ fans (with all apologies to the Cleveland Browns). It’s been almost thirty years since the Lions last playoff win. There are people in Detroit who have probably seen a lot of stuff happen in their 25 years on this Earth, but the one thing they haven’t seen is a Lions playoff win. This is it though. This is FINALLY the year it’s going to happen.
If it does happen though, it probably won’t be because of the offense. Unfortunately for Detroit fans, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson announced his retirement a few months ago and now the Lions are left searching for a new #1 WR. Golden Tate and former Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Jones are fighting for the position, but neither one of them will ever be “Megatron”. This could end up being an awful year for QB Matthew Stafford who may end up playing for a new NFL team real soon. I’m not the kind of guy to start rumors or anything, but every now and then in the NFL we see a franchise QB and his team come to an agreement on a separation because it’s best for both parties involved. That may end up being the case with Stafford and Detroit soon. The guy just lost his favorite target in Calvin Johnson, the Lions have a putrid offensive line, and they are the Lions for crying out loud! Barry Sanders and “Megatron” both choose to retire early rather than continue playing for this team.
But what about the defense? It’s actually not bad. If the Lions do end up sneaking up on people this season and making the playoffs, it very well could be because of an improved defense. Their front-seven is pretty good, especially for a team who just lost Ndamukong Suh a year ago. Darius Slay is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and Glover Quin could play on my team any day of the week. While they do have a few holes, so does every other team in the league. Don’t be surprised if this unit is surprisingly one of the best in the NFL by year’s end.
I know I joked earlier that this is the year the Lions finally make the playoffs and maybe even get a playoff win, and I apologize to Lions fans. While you guys have a decent team, I see you having more of a “Jeff Fisher type season”. That’s not bad for a team that’s head coached by one of the worst coaches in the NFL. Something tells me this will be Caldwell’s last season in Detroit as well as Stafford’s, but hey…..I’m getting way ahead of myself.