The Lions are dealing with the ACL recovery of Right Tackle LaAdrian Waddle but Stephen Tulloch should be fully recovered from his Week 3 ACL tear after a monster sack and celebration. Joique Bell had minor knee and achilles procedures but should be the workhorse tailback for Detroit. Nevin Lawson (foot) is recovering from early season injuries on tap but if healthy should vie for the nickel back role against Josh Wilson, Chris Owens and rookie Quandre Diggs. Redzone Tight End Joseph Fauria is still recovering from his fall chasing his puppy. Bill Bentley was cut due to not recovering from his knee injury. Levy has been limited to individual deals and Jason Jones underwent a knee surgery late in the off-season. The Lions have 43 days to recover for training camp and it will be interesting who starts out on PUP in training camp.
The Lions appear set at all starting positions and added good rotational depth. They’ve upgraded (addressed) their run game and pass protection and added high character rookies and veterans. Detroit dealt with the defensive tackle changes well by adding Ngata and Walker. The Lions added depth at corner back and defensive tackle that can grow into starters.
The Lions have good depth at running back, wide receiver, tight end and interior offensive line on offense. Detroit appears to have good depth at defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, cornerback and safety on defense. Quarterback and offensive tackle seem to be Detroit’s areas of depth weakness but experienced year two swing tackle, Cornelius Lucas, and rookie right tackle Corey Robinson could change those fortunes for Detroit in 2015. Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore have Lombardi system experience for a year but shouldn’t be counted on for more than 2 games or Detroit will be in trouble.
Schedule and Record
Detroit has a tough but not impossible schedule in 2015. They start the season with three of four games on the road and end with three of four games on the road. Detroit has two three game home stands and six national TV games in 2015. Detroit has a bye during Week 9 before a road game to Lambeau Field (a place that has given Detroit slight problems in the past) and plays no teams following their opponents’ bye. The only weather games could be at Green Bay in November and at Chicago at the end of December.
A second year in the Lombardi offensive and Austin defensive systems should help the Lions plus good starters across the board with strong depth. Detroit getting more production from the 2014 draft class, specifically, Tight End Eric Ebron developing as a third option and Swanson as the new center for a struggling Raiola should pay dividends for Detroit as did the 2013 draft class in its second year.
Detroit should be in the 10-12 win range again in the 2015 season barring major injury. 7-1 at home and 4-4 on the road is probable. Green Bay, Denver, Philadelphia and Arizona at home will be the key home games that decide the home record. Detroit away at San Diego, at Minnesota, versus KC in London, at St. Louis and at New Orleans will be the key away games. Detroit away at Seattle and at Green Bay will be very tough but Detroit has the fire power to pull the victory and match up well with both teams. Detroit losing to Chicago (both games), Minnesota (home), San Francisco (home) or Oakland (home) shouldn’t happen. The Detroit Lions will return to the playoffs for the second year in a row. Hopefully this time the refs know what they are doing in regards to pass interference and holding.