The Detroit Lions are a team that many aren’t counting on to do big things this year, but there is an undercurrent of hype about the team in certain corners of the internet.
Yet another person has said the Lions could be expected to have a huge leap season. According to Bleacher Report and writer Maurice Moton, the team could be expected to be one of a handful in the NFL who take a big next step this coming season on the field and do some bigger winning.
Why is that? Here’s a look at what Moton wrote:
“Matt Patricia’s two-year, 9-22-1 head coaching record doesn’t inspire optimism.
But on a positive note, quarterback Matthew Stafford will play a second year in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s system, which flourished with the 32-year-old on the field.
Before back and hip injuries derailed Stafford’s season, he was second in touchdown passes (19) and fourth in passing yards (2,499) through Week 9.
With his experience and the addition of rookie dual-threat running back D’Andre Swift, Detroit’s offense poses a bigger threat.
The Lions traded cornerback Darius Slay but replaced him with No. 3 pick Jeff Okudah. He has exceptional footwork, change of direction and ability to lock up wide receivers in one-on-one man coverage.
Patricia will coach a few more familiar faces from his days in New England in defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins and safety Duron Harmon.
Last season, Detroit ranked 26th in scoring defense and allowed the second-most yards. Shelton can plug some holes on the interior of the defensive line, while Collins will strengthen the pass rush and cover the middle of the field. In 2019, he recorded a career-high seven sacks to go with seven pass breakups and three interceptions. Harmon has the range to help Okudah deep downfield if needed.
The Lions finished 2019 on a nine-game losing streak and didn’t win a contest without Stafford. His return alone should help Detroit double its victories from 2019.”
Stafford, as well as an improved defense, should figure to be huge factors for the Lions this season. The team will get their quarterback healthy and also quietly made improvements to the defense which could lead in quite a turnaround for the team. If the team is to do some big winning, it will have to be their defense which leads the way in a big way.
To that end, Moton is right. Having a healthy quarterback leading a solid offense as well as a improved defense could be a winning formula for the team.
Analyst Projecting Great Lions 2020 Record
This isn’t the only good projection for Detroit. Recently, the question was posed regarding what team analysts are taking a leap of faith on for the 2020 season. According to Shaun O’Hara, the Lions are that team, and he thinks they could make more than just a little bit of noise this coming season on the field. In fact, O’Hara is putting all his faith in Detroit.
— GMFB (@gmfb) July 24, 2020
“When you look back at what happened last year, before Matthew Stafford got hurt, he was lighting it up. When you look at Detroit and what they did this offseason, the infusion of talent on offense and defense. The Lions to me, I know they didn’t win a single game in the division. Their offense is very underrated. I think this offensive line is much improved. I think altogether the Lions, in that division, they’re going to be a contender. I’m not just saying they’re going to go 8-8.”
Most expect the Lions to simply go 8-8 or thereabouts most seasons at best, so O’Hara’s comment is a significant leap of faith in the team indeed. With modest improvements on defense, Detroit’s offense could be set to have a major season on the field which could lead in them winning big and having a better record than many predict.
If and when that happens, O’Hara can be the first to tell everyone he warned them first.
Shaun O’Hara Predicted Big Lions Season
That’s not something that should be the case according to NFL Network analyst Shaun O’Hara. Recently, O’Hara was asked to name the sleeper team he thinks is going to make a push in 2020 and go from last to first place. As he said, the answer is the Lions.
As O’Hara explained, the Lions have quietly been building something good and it could be time for it to take off.
“When you look at what Matt Patricia has been building the last few years, year 3, it’s go time now. You planted a lot of seeds, now it’s time for them to rise up,” he said. “This offseason it’s been a pipeline. Every former New England Patriot he could get he swallowed up. He’s bringing in some veteran leaders, some quality players. Offensively, you get D’Andre Swift in the second round of this draft. I love the way he runs the football. Physical, aggressive runner I love his running style.”
O’Hara went on to say that Swift will come in motivated after dropping in the draft, and that’s dangerous for the rest of the league. He also liked the team’s addition of Jeff Okudah at cornerback, and said as a result
“I think this Detroit Lions team is going to be awake and I think they are going to stay woke because of the way Matt Patricia is building this team,” O’Hara concluded.
After a dismal first few seasons under Patricia, the hope is that O’Hara is right. Clearly, though, he isn’t as down on the Lions as many others in his profession might be at this point in time.
Analyst Also Sees Lions Surging During 2020
Recently, Peter King of NBC Sports presented the thoughts of a team official, who outlined the scenario that a team out of the blue could win the biggest prize this season because of the wild environment coronavirus has created.
Here’s what King wrote:
“I’ve barely thought about the football part of football season, but I found it very interesting Saturday when one top club official said to me: “We could crown the Detroit Lions Super Bowl champs this year.” Huh? “Because this year’s going to be about who handles COVID the best. Suppose the Lions have zero people quarantined this year, while other teams have important players out for a while.” It’s like what Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings told me Saturday too: The team that handles the peripheral stuff best will have a huge edge, because this year the peripheral stuff will be as important as the on-field stuff.”
How the Lions manage the virus and the day to day rigors of a new environment could help them be very successful in the end, perhaps more so than a team that isn’t handling things well. So far, the team has done a great job with their virtual offseason, impressing their coach Matt Patricia. If that translates to training camp and then the regular season, the Lions will be in great shape.
The 2020 season will be wild considering it will be a matter of chance. Key players on teams could get sick and miss time while other teams could push through relatively unscathed. This type of environment could level the playing field for all of the teams in the league, giving a franchise like Detroit a chance.
If the Lions do take the next step, it could indeed be a huge one for both the team and the franchise.