The Detroit Lions have what figures to be health as well as a revved up running game, a rebuilt offensive line and a high flying passing attack to support them in 2020.
All of that could combine to make them one of the most interesting teams in the NFL this coming season. According to former NFL quarterback Chris Simms of NBC Sports, while Matt Patricia has a defensive identity and mindset, his offense could be what drives a turnaround this season in Detroit.
Here’s what Simms wrote when taking a deeper dive into the Lions ahead of the season:
More on the @Lions…I know Matt Patricia wants to play through his defense, but the offense is what intrigues me. Some good playmakers there and Matthew Stafford was GREAT last year before injury. If he's completely adjusted to Patricia's style, this year could be good.
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) July 28, 2020
Matthew Stafford will be healthy, the wideouts will be good to go and the team has the threat of a solid ground attack. That, combined with another year in Darrell Bevell’s scheme, should make the Lions a team to contend with on the offensive side of things in 2020.
Should the defense provide any sort of spark and show improvement, the Lions could do some big winning. Credit Simms for opening his eyes to the fact that the team might be quietly elite on the offensive side of things.
If the Lions put up points, they might quietly become a team to beat in 2020.
Lions Offense Looks Comfortable Heading Toward 2020 </h2
Recently, Pro Football Focus revealed a look at the top average depths of reception for quarterbacks in 2019. Stafford led the way with an 8.7 mark. The stat proves that Stafford was well on his way to a great season throwing the ball before injury struck midway through.
The difference a new OC and scheme can do for a player can be huge
— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) July 6, 2020
Not all was lost, however. The 2019 season may have been a wash, but it's obvious as pointed out that Darrell Bevell knows just how he wants to use his rocket armed quarterback moving forward. Stafford will be able to be unleashed once more this coming season, and gone are the days of the short passes under Jim Bob Cooter.
If there was one complaint about Cooter, it was the coordinator often times held Stafford back and didn't allow him to spread his wings as a passer. Other offenses Stafford had been in allowed him to throw the ball more freely, and Bevell deserves credit for seeing that this approach was likely Stafford at his best and quickly implementing it after taking over.
Bevell is also committed to having a serious running game, so if the Lions can get their runners going, it will only help Stafford's passing numbers look gaudier when all is said and done.
Stafford and Bevell aligned at the right time with the right approach, and the duo could be a great pair for the Lions given the meshing of their ideological approach.
Analyst Predicts Lions Will Score This Season </h2
Several admit to liking the direction the team is trending at this point in the offseason. Even though NBC Sports analyst Peter King doesn't have the Lions ranked high in his power rankings at 26th, he does see potential for some large things in 2020.
As King explains, it’s a big season for many with the team and while Matthew Stafford hasn’t accomplished much at this point in his career, the Lions will have a powerful offense. What happens this season from there will be determined by the defense.
“But what will it mean? Detroit basically treaded water in the offseason, trading ace cornerback Darius Slay to Philadelphia and using the third pick in the draft on his replacement, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. He’ll play opposite new cornerback Desmond Trufant, who comes from Atlanta after a disappointing end there. Patricia’s D needs to show progress after allowing a gaudy 24.5 points a game in his first two years, not the kind of performance the Lions expected when they hired the Belichick disciple two years ago. He’ll need strong performances from a couple of former Patriots who just arrived this year—instinctive safety Duron Harmon and roving linebacker Jamie Collins. I won’t be shocked if Detroit contends, because the Lions will score. The big question is the D.”
Many think the Lions actually improved their defense this offseason, even as others see the team basically doing nothing more than treading water. Either way, King is right. If Detroit’s defense steps up and has a big year, the team could stand to benefit by doing more winning than many would expect on the field.
The team’s offense may be what drives the bus toward the Lions having an amazing season on the field when all is said and done.