Given where the Detroit Lions have been in the last few years, it isn’t a stretch to say that even moderate step forward could be huge for the team and the franchise.
Heading into the 2022 season, that is the case in a big way. Detroit went 3-13-1 in 2021, which was a disappointing year. It may have been a needed step back for the team to take some leaps forward in the near future, though.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
As a result of that, what does a realistic goal look like for the team this coming season? Adam Rank of NFL.com took a look at a wide ranging preview for the team’s impending season, and made a prediction as it relates to that very fact. He’s setting the bar pretty low for the Lions in terms of what a successful year would look like, believing the team could get to the .500 mark.
“I would offer that finishing above .500 seems like a realistic goal. That might get you to the playoffs, given the shape of some of these NFC teams. It’s June. Dream big, Detroit,” Rank wrote in the piece.
The Lions have not so much as sniffed the .500 mark since the 2017 season when they missed the playoffs at 9-7. That year, being two games over .500 was not enough for the team to crack the postseason. With Rank admitting the NFC may be weaker this season, things could be vastly different in 2022 should the Lions finish close to that mark, below or above it.
It feels safe to say that .500 or just a bit better would be a wild success in Detroit all things considered for this season. If the Lions could scratch out that win total, Rank is right. This coming season might be a bigger success than many folks would have imagined.
PFF Analyst Conceded NFC Weak, Betting on Lions
Analysts seem to have a unified approach when it comes to Detroit in 2022. PFF’s Eric Eager outlined scenarios in which he believes bettors should be going all-in on Detroit. As he explained, folks should be betting the over on six wins in 2022, betting yes on the team playing in the playoffs and yes on the team winning the NFC North division.
As for the reason why, Eager believes Detroit’s roster upgrades and the team’s beefed up offensive line is a big reason why the team should be successful, in addition to their schedule. As he writes, “the Lions’ situations in 2022 are projected to be much better, meaning that their rate of long-yardage situations and trailing in games should be lower than it was in the past, which should lower (Jared) Goff’s pressure rates.”
Eager concludes that he believes the team will be one of the top ones standing from their conference when all is said and done.
“In a weak NFC, there will be a team that we don’t think is good that still emerges to make the seven-team tournament, and I believe that team will be the Lions,” he wrote in the piece.
It’s a bold prediction to make, but it’s one that many are coming out to preach at this point of the offseason.
Roster Moves, Schedule Should Help Lions for 2022
In addition to the team’s friendly schedule for the coming year, the Lions could be ready for a turnaround thanks to the fact that they have beefed up their roster. Detroit has improved greatly on defense up to this point of the offseason, with some of their heaviest lifting coming on that side of the ball. Not only did the Lions add names like Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal, but they drafted underrated players like Kerby Joseph, Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston, any of whom could fight for a role. In free agency, Detroit added linebackers Chris Board and Jarrad Davis, cornerback Mike Hughes and safety DeShon Elliot.
Offensively, the Lions added players with upside such as DJ Chark, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. They also managed to secure dynamic wideout Jameson Williams in the draft and added intriguing tight end James Mitchell later on in the fifth-round as well. This, combined with health from Jared Goff, T.J. Hockenson, D’Andre Swift and the offensive line could have the Lions in great shape to chase down a big rebound season on the field.
Will that be enough to get the Lions to the .500 mark? If so, it could represent a major step forward for the team on the field.