It’s that time of year again; back to school and of course, back to football. For fans of the Detroit Lions, it’s that time of year again to get your hopes up for the upcoming season, only to wind up disappointed 17 weeks later, asking ourselves, ‘What happened?.’ Hopefully, this season, the Lions can change their ways, from sub par to superstars.
The Detroit Lions face a tough 2017 schedule and with Matthew Stafford only getting older and the Lions run game running on empty for years, I fear Detroit may be looming towards another mediocre season.
Head coach, Jim Caldwell, going into his fourth season with the Lions, will be looking to improve upon his regular season record of 27-21 and a postseason record of 0-2. During the off-season, Caldwell and the Lions added plenty of new faces to the roster including T.J. Lang (RG), Jarrad Davis (MLB), Kenny Golladay (WR) and more. However, Detroit also lost several big names including Deandre Levy, Anquan Boldin, Larry Warford and Riley Reiff.
Detroit’s most pressing concern, however, is the run game. In 2016, the Lions ranked 30th in rushing yards and 26th in rushing TDs, only scoring nine throughout the year. Choosing not to run much, Detroit ranked 31st in rushing attempts, tieing Cleveland at 350. During the offseason, the Lions added new pieces to the offensive line through free agency and hope this will improve the run game in 2017.
Can the Lions weather this storm that is a tough 2017 regular season schedule?
Week 1 (9/10) Vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Lions start off the season against the Cardinals and veteran QB Carson Palmer. Since 2005, Palmer has a 4-1 record against the Lions and has scored a collective nine touchdowns. This trend will continue this season and the Cardinals will be victorious again against the Lions in 2017.
Result: Loss 10-24
Week 2 (9/18) @ New York Giants
Last year, the Giants beat the Lions 17-6 but this year, the Lions will get their revenge on the G-men. With an aging Eli Manning, Brandon Marshall and a sophomore running back in Paul Perkins, I think the Giants will find themselves at the bottom of the NFC and this second-week loss will be a start to the losing way. This year will be another close one vs. the Giants but I will take Matthew Stafford over Manning coming into this year.
Result: Win 20-14
Week 3 (9/24) Vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons come off the loss in the Super Bowl looking very strong this season and I expect them to easily beat the Lions. With Devonta Freeman, the Falcons have something the Lions do not, a solid running back who can run for over one thousand yards in a season. I expect Freeman to have a big game and lead his team to a win.
Result: Loss 17-35
Week 4 (10/1) @ Minnesota Vikings
This one is close but I think the Vikings will win due to the home field advantage. Both teams have seen their O-line cause their running game and quarterbacks suffer. Coming into this season, the Viking and Lions look very similar on paper which is why I believe this game will be a very close one.
Result: Loss 24-28
Week 5 (10/8) Vs. Carolina Panthers
This is a tough one. Cam Newton and the Panthers come into the 2017 season looking very strong. Three years ago in 2014, Newton and the Panthers beat the Lions 24-7 and Newton threw for 281 yards and one touchdown. I’m expecting a much worse result this season with the Lions staying stagnant and the Panthers only getting better since 2014.
Result: Loss 10-45
Week 6 (10/22) @ New Orleans Saints
The Lions get a much-needed win in week six against the Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees is 3-3 against the Lions in his career but the Lions have beat the Saints the last three times the teams have met (2014, 2015, 2016). I expect the trend to continue and I foresee Stafford taking advantage of the Saints suffering defense.
Result: Win 28-17
Week 7 – Bye
Week 8 (10/29) Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Here is another close loss for the Lions. I don’t think this will be a very high scoring game as both teams are fairly even on paper. In his career, Ben Roethlisberger is 3-0 against the Lions and scored seven touchdowns in his last two games alone against Detroit. Coming off the bye week, I expect Detroit to keep it close and fall to 2-5.
Result: Loss 10-14
Week 9 (11/6) @ Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is 13-3 Vs. Detroit in his career. Rodgers has also only lost once against the Lions playing at Lambeau. I think this trend will continue and the Packers will be victorious again. I expect Rodgers to score 2-3 passing touchdowns against the Lions struggling secondary.
Result: Loss 21-31
Week 10 (11/12) Vs. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns come into the season looking like a less than average team with a few good pieces on both sides of the ball. I’m counting on Matthew Stafford taking advantage of the very young and inexperienced secondary of Cleveland. I will be looking for Stafford to throw at least two touchdowns in an overwhelming victory.
Result: Win 24-7
Week 11 (11/19) @ Chicago Bears
I don’t know who will be the starting quarterback for Chicago when week 11 rolls around. Mike Glennon has been named the starter but will the Bears stick with him through the entirety of the season or move on to Mitchell Trubisky, who was picked second overall in the 2017 draft? Which ever way the Bears go, I think the Lions defense will have a field day and lead the team to a 35-14 W.
Result: Win 35-14
Week 12 (11/23) Vs. Minnesota Vikings (Thanksgiving Day Game)
Since 2013, the Lions are 4-0 on Thanksgiving and last year, they beat the Vikings 16-13. This year, I expect Detroit to continue their trend and beat Minnesota in another close one.
Result: Win 17-10
Week 13 (12/3) @ Baltimore Ravens
The Lions three game win streak come to an end when they travel to Baltimore to face Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Flacco is 2-0 in his career against Detroit and I foresee that going to 3-0 in 2017. The last two times the Ravens and Lions met, the Ravens had five rushing touchdowns. I’m counting on a similar show of force from the Ravens in a 24-12 win.
Result: Loss 12-24
Week 14 (12/10) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Lions and Bucs look similar on paper coming into this season and look to be in the same position when the season ends in December. I foresee this being another close game for the Lions. I’m looking for young quarterback Jameis Winston, 23, to target his two elite receivers: DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans a lot in this game and lead his team to a victory.
Result: Loss 20-21
Week 15 (12/16) Vs. Chicago Bears
What else can be said? The Bears come into the season looking like a bad team and the Lions will beat them both times. Chicago is in a rebuilding period and can only look forward to the future. I think this will be a close one because the Bears will be looking for revenge because of their 35-14 loss earlier in the season. However, they still have a young secondary that Matthew Stafford will look to take advantage of.
Result: Win 17-14
Week 16 (12/24) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton has only faced the Lions once since being drafted in 2011. The 27-24 win was in 2013 and featured three touchdowns from the 29-year-old Dalton. In his second outing facing the Lions, I think Dalton will do something similar and score at least two touchdowns. I expect Dalton and the rest of the Bengals team to aggressively beat the Lions.
Result: Loss 10-31
Week 17 (12/31) Vs. Green Bay Packers
Usually, towards the end of the season, teams who already have playoff berths bench most of their starters to avoid injuries heading into the playoffs. I foresee the Packers clinching a spot in the playoffs and sitting their usual starters in week 17. This will lead to the Lions beating Green Bay in a closely fought bout and bringing their overall record to 7-9 on the season.
Result: Win 27-17
2017 Season Result: 7-9
Another unsuccessful and playoff-less season for the Lions as they face a tough 2017 regular season schedule. As Matthew Stafford grows older and the Jim Caldwell era continues to be unsuccessful, the question must be asked if Detroit needs a drastic change to happen to shape up the entirety of the franchise and lead the team to their first Super Bowl in 60 years. Otherwise, the Lions are bound to stay stagnant and continue to be a mediocre team.