The 2021 season is almost upon us. It’s tradition for me to present some crazy wild ass Lions expectations that everybody can enjoy at mid-season or season end when they crash and burn. Well this year the Lions are going to suck with my full knowledge going INTO the season. I’ve seen the light folks. Lions fever has passed. My guy Stafford is in LA with McVay. Maybe I’ll predict a Rams Super Bowl. But let’s be bold.
LIONS ARE COMPETITIVE in 14 of 17 games
The Lions look like a train wreck at WR, LB, Safety and depth. QB is a major downgrade with Jared Goff from gun slinger Matt Stafford. Goff was number 1 overall pick for a reason though. There is some young talent on the defensive line, slot WR, LB, RB, offensive line and tight end for the Lions to use.
Lions probably won’t win many games barring extreme health and some luck (turnovers/blown coverages) but they will be competitive in 14 of 17 games in 2021. Detroit loses 9 games by one score, will win 5, and get blown out in 3 of 17.
5-12 record for the Lions in 2021.
Lions Run Game Top 15
Lions run game will be top 15 in yards per game. That is bold given it never happens for Detroit in the Stafford or Millen eras (2001-2020). Lions offensive line is improved enough for good run blocking but Sewell will have rookie struggles at right tackle. If Swift is healthy (groin) with Jamaal Williams they can get the job done at RB. There should be more running now with Goff at QB. Swift 900 yards rushing at 4.6 YPC, Williams 700 yards rushing at 4.1 YPC in 2021. Rookie Jemar Jefferson could get a shot for some carries as RB 3 if Swift gets hurt too. 1,800 rushing yards for Detroit total.
Lions Top 7 Offensive Line in League
Detroit has great pass protection and good run blocking to keep the Lions offense respectable. Sewell struggles early but gets better as the year goes along. Ragnow and Decker are great. Jackson and Vaitia are solid in 2021.
Jared Goff Looks Good in like 10 of 17 games.
Jared Goff has some talent. In games with a run game and well protected, he’ll have a handful of 100 QB ratings games. Turnovers will be a problem in others but Detroit has no backup to turn to right now. Jared Goff surprising 95.5 QB rating (16th in league) with 26 TDs and 14 interceptions, 4,100 yards 64% completion on exactly 500 attempts. Detroit will keep him a second year but draft a QB early in 2022 draft.
Dumpster fire 85 QB rating or less is on the table though depending on WR group and protection from offensive line
Lions Defense Top 20 in PPG Allowed
This is bold considering the dumpster fire of the past 2 years for Detroit’s defense for dead last defenses. The talent and scheme have been upgraded possibly for Detroit but we’ll see what the new DC Aaron Glenn can do coming from the Saints using the Rams defensive scheme.
Injuries a major factor as the Lions have depth issues in secondary. LB with Jamie Collins, Alex Anazalone and the rookie Derek Barnes can be solid. Defensive line actually has some depth (Onwuzurike, Hand, Penisini) behind rookie McNeil, Brockers and Nick Williams. The rookies will need to step up in McNeil and Onwuzurike early with Brockers and Williams healthy. D DShawn Hand is hurt already so will miss 3 weeks at least but has talent in a contract year. Nick Williams will need to repeat a contract year performance from 2019. Brockers will need to be healthy and ready in run defense.
Lions can be top 20 in PPG allowed which won’t be enough to win games with this new Lions offense. The Okwara brothers and Trey Flowers bring good pressure from OLB spots. Romeo Okwara 10 sacks again, Trey Flowers 7 sacks and Julian Owkara 4 sacks incoming.
Jeff Okudah looks solid in year 2 (healthy now in better scheme) but not a game changing shut down corner. LBs and safeties and nickel CB coverage are the burnt toasts in 2022. AO is solid in year 3 as number 2 CB. They better stay healthy at outside CB.
Detroit forces 24 turnovers in 2021.
Overall NFC North
Packers win the NFC North (of course) but the Vikings (embarrassment of riches) are very very close with their defense back STRONG. Good offense for Vikings too led by Cook.
12-5, 11-6 scenario with extra losses from Cousins missing games from COVID. YOU LIKE THAT you anti-vaxxer FREAK. Both Packers and Vikings make the playoffs. Vikings top 7 defense and top 7 offense. Packers top 3 offense and top 12 defense even with Joe Barry as DC.
Justin Fields looks good for Bears but he has rookie struggles in a few games mid-season. They lose a bunch of games with Dalton a couple weeks too. Bears 7-10 and Nagy gets fired. Mooney steps up for Bears WRs.
Chiefs, Bills, Browns, Titans are division winners. Pats, Steelers, and Chargers are Wild Cards
Packers, Saints, Cowboys and Rams are division winners. Bucs, Vikings and 49ers are the Wild Cards.
Packers win the Super Bowl. Beat Vikings in divisional round and Rams in NFC Champ game despite a good game by Stafford (35-31). Packers beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl in a great game. Packers don’t trade Rodgers next offseason as a result. BOLD