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The Detroit Lions are coming off their first playoff appearance since 1999. The 10-6 Lions were led by their prolific, offensive weapons Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Stafford threw for 5,081 yards, 3rd in the NFL and threw 41 touchdowns, also 3rd in the NFL. As for his number one guy, Johnson led all receivers with 1,681 yards and was 2nd in the NFL with 16 touchdowns. The Lions were the 5th best total offense in the NFL, averaging 396.1 yards per game and were 4th in the NFL, averaging 300.9 passing yards per game.
If the Lions could get a healthy run game going, their offense would be even more of a threat. No running back on the Lions has solidified themselves as the starter because of constant injuries. Jahvid Best, who missed extensive time last season because of a concussion, is on the unable to perform list and unable to play for the first six weeks.
As for running back Mikel Leshoure, he missed all of last season with a torn left Achilles tendon. Although healthy and looking great this preseason, Leshoure will not be playing until Week 3 because of his substance-abuse suspension. With all this being said, that leaves running back Kevin Smith as the primary ball carrier, although he suffered a minor ankle set back in their third preseason game against Oakland.
Detroit was able to put up points on the scoreboard; however, they gave them up just as easily. The Lions were ranked 23rd in the NFL, allowed 367.6 yards per game and 23rd in points per game giving up 24.2.
In addition, the Lions’ offseason troubles definitely didn’t help them progress. Expect Stafford and Johnson to still be team leaders, and expect a setback especially after Chicago’s additions this offseason. The Lions have struggled against division rival’s Green Bay and Chicago the last three seasons and only have recorded 2 victories. This upcoming season may result in another 4 losses against the Packers and the Bears.
Detroit could start the season off with a 3-1 record in September; however, as the season goes on, the Lions will have a difficult time getting easy wins and could finish this season 8-8.
Image Courtesy of davelawrence8