Lions’ 2020 ‘Worst to First’ Climb Cited as Likely

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia during the Tampa Bay game.

The Detroit Lions are trying hard to right the script and change the narrative ahead of the 2020 season, and could be a team poised for a huge turnaround according to the media.

Recently, CBS Sports writer John Breech looked at ranking the teams likely to make a worst to first jump this coming season 1-8. As he said, he believes the Lions belong on the list and actually quite high. Breech had Detroit in the No. 2 position for the 2020 season. While the Miami Dolphins were No. 1, the Lions were also seen as a team likely to make a big jump.

Here’s what he writes as it relates to why:

“For the first eight weeks of the 2019 season, the Lions looked like a potential dark horse team to make the playoffs, but then Matthew Stafford got hurt and the wheels fell off the wagon. Before Stafford’s injury, he was playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Not only was he averaging 312.4 passing yards per game, but he had a 106.0 QB rating and a 19-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio, and he did all that even though he was still learning the system of Lions first-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. If Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions should be able to compete for the division title in a wide open NFC North.”

Detroit is quietly a team on the rise in many circles ahead of this season, and while they will have to prove it on the field, there’s a chance of them having improved enough to accomplish this mission in the months ahead. The team is healthy, nearly contended last year and all systems should be go for a much better 2020.

It could lead the Lions to become a first place team this coming season if all goes to plan.

ESPN’s Mina Kimes High on Lions in 2020

Many elsewhere are also beginning to see the Lions as a threat to do some damage in the 2020 season, and now ESPN personality Mina Kimes can be counted as someone on the bandwagon of the team. As she admitted on the ESPN Daily Podcast, the Lions are a team she’s beginning to take seriously as a threat this coming season.

“Fans of this team are going to be so angry I mentioned them. They’re really beaten all the hope right out of their system. I kind of like Detroit. They were a lot better in 2019 than their record showed. They went 3-8-1 in one score games which is usually a good predictive metric for a team that is likely to bounce back. They also lost their starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to injury. Through the first 9 weeks of the season, they had the 4th most efficient passing attack in the NFL. He was playing tremendous football airing it out. If he can channel that gunslinger mentality again this year I really think they can compete in a wide open NFC North.”

It’s not just Kimes who is all in on Detroit. Marc Sessler of admitted he’s beginning to think the Lions might just be a playoff team during the 2020 season.

All of this love ahead of the 2020 season is something new for the Lions and their fans, but it’s possible that everyone is right. The team is more than a bit underrated and is coming into a year where they should be greatly improved.

Lions Projected NFC North Winners by ESPN Personality

Recently, ESPN analyst Dianna Russini admitted to feeling bold in the morning, and as part of that, she said she believes the Lions will end their elongated drought in the NFC North this coming season.

No context was provided for the prediction, but if Russini was pushed, it’s likely she’d say she is excited about the team’s offense, the return of a healthy, elite quarterback and a defense which might not be able to be any worse than it was in 2019 in multiple ways.

The Lions haven’t won their division since 1993, so this would be a stunning accomplishment for the team all things considered. Detroit rarely finds themselves in the driver’s seat, but when they do, they routinely choke away the opportunity to get the job done and take home the crown.

It might be time to make history in terms of the NFC North if some are to be believed. That could be the case if the Lions do go worst to first.

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