The Detroit Lions won nine games in each of the last two seasons and had three winning years and two playoff appearances in Jim Caldwell’s four years, but it wasn’t enough to for him to keep his job. Former New England executive and current GM Bob Quinn hired his buddy Matt Patricia away from the Pats to become the head coach to try and instill the “Patriot Way” on a team that hasn’t won a division title since 1993 and has gone two years longer without a playoff victory. For a team that averaged nine wins over the past four seasons, expectations are low.
Detroit Lions Futures Odds at BookMaker.eu
Detroit Lions Over 7.5 Wins -120
Detroit Lions Under 7.5 Wins +100
2018 Detroit Lions Offense Preview
The best move by Patricia was one he didn’t make. The new coach elected to retain offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who received a glowing recommendation from Matthew Stafford. The quarterback has been one constant in Detroit as he enters his 10th season with the club and Stafford has built a strong relationship with Cooter. Stafford has completed over 66 percent of his passes with more than 272 yards per game since Cooter took over as coordinator seven games into the 2015 campaign. There are play makers in the passing game with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay a worthy trio of receivers.
The Lions need to be better running the football and Quinn did his best during the offseason. The Lions haven’t had a 1,000-yard season or 100-yard game since 2013 and they were last in 2017 with less than 80 yards per game on the ground. LeGarrette Blount was brought in and Kerryon Johnson was taken in the second round. Toughness up front makes the run game work and center Frank Ragnow was the team’s first pick in the draft. The Lions were seventh in scoring with 25.6 points per game despite a pathetic ground attack. Imagine what they can do if they run the football effectively.
2018 Detroit Lions Defense Preview
A defensive coordinator by title for the past six seasons in New England, Patricia will have work to do with this group. But there are plenty of new faces to change the look of the 27th ranked unit. That whole toughness thing cropped up again when looking to fix the group. The Lions were constantly moved off the ball at the point of attack and they didn’t have Haloti Ngata to stuff the line for most of the year.
Free agents Devon Kennard and Sylvester Williams will help and the return to form of Ezekiel Ansah is a key to the pass rush. Ziggy had 14.0 sacks in 2015 but he’s been slowed by injuries the last two seasons. Kennard teams with Jarrad Davis to give the Lions a pair of three-down linebackers ideal for Patricia’s schemes. Darius “Big Play” Slay anchors the secondary as one of the premiere corners. He tied for the lead with eight picks last season. Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson are two of the better safeties in the game, making the secondary a strength.
2018 Detroit Lions Schedule Analysis
The Lions have a pair of winnable games right out of the chute with the Jets and 49ers first up. They match up well with the AFC East, with the exception of the Patriots, and get the NFC West. The win total hinges on how the Lions do within the division. They can’t take Chicago lightly, and a split of the four games with Minnesota and Green Bay would certainly boost their chances.
The second half of the schedule will make or break the season. There’s a three-game home stand in late November/early December against Carolina, Chicago and the Rams, then the Lions play three of their final four on the road with games at Arizona, Buffalo and Green Bay.
The Final Verdict
The Lions averaged nine wins over the previous four seasons and on paper the team has improved. But as we know the games aren’t played on paper. They have one of the best quarterbacks in Stafford, who somehow gets the job done effectively and consistently despite the lack of a run game.
Addressing needs on both sides of the football and toughening up the lines will make the Lions a better club. The win total hit the board at 7.5 so even a slight step back from previous seasons puts them in a good spot to cash the over. Patricia wasn’t brought in to rebuild the team, he was hired to win now and do something that hasn’t been accomplished in some time in Detroit. The top of the division is tough, but a wild card and 10-win season aren’t out of the question.
NFL Odds: Detroit Lions Over 7.5 Wins
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