Louis Riddick Predicts Bold 2023 Finish for Jared Goff, Lions

Jared Goff

Getty ESPN's Louis Riddick made a bold 2023 prediction for quarterback Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions.

It’s been 32 years since the Detroit Lions won a playoff game and advanced to the NFC Championship. ESPN’s Louis Riddick predicted both droughts to end at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

“I believe that Detroit is poised to make a huge, huge leap this year and be a major, major player in the postseason,” Riddick said while appearing on ESPN’s Get Up on June 22. “And one of the primary reasons is because I believe … Jared Goff has found the [best] situation for him now.

“I think he is going to take another step this year, and you’re going to see it manifest itself in them being in the NFC title game.”

This is hardly the first time Riddick has hyped the Lions this offseason. In fact, Riddick hyping the Lions has been such a common occurrence this offseason, SB Nation’s Jeremy Reisman called Riddick the conductor of the Lions offseason bandwagon.

Riddick Doubles Down on Lions, Predicts an NFC Championship Appearance

Riddick jumped on the Detroit bandwagon about 10 minutes into the offseason.

“I said this in January, right after they were down mopping Lambeau with the Packers,” Riddick said while appearing on The Rich Eisen Show on May 16. “That’s Detroit. This team, has got it going on.”

During that appearance, Riddick complimented quarterback Jared Goff and called rookie signal caller Hendon Hooker Detroit’s future behind center.

But on June 22 on Get Up, Riddick was all in on Goff.

“When you look at Jared’s season last year — you can subjectively say, ‘Look, I don’t like the guy. Sean McVay got rid of him. He’s not a big-game performer.’ Whatever,” Riddick said. “If you look at him objectively, this guy, as far as all QB metrics, when you splice it apart, he was nailing it in every single critical category.

“He was top-10 in total QBR, he was second in the NFL in fourth quarter QBR. He’s top 10, top 11 in red zone QBR, third down QBR, QBR in the pocket, QBR outside the pocket. They have got it going on with Jared Goff right now.”

Goff excelled in the more traditional statistics as well. He completed 65.1% of his passes for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions in 2022. His touchdown percentage was its highest since 2018, and his interception rate was the lowest of his career.

Other Reason to Believe in Lions Hype

It’s easy to be believers in the Lions because of Goff and the team’s offensive playmakers. But Riddick made another important point to Eisen on May 16 and on his own network on June 22.

In both media appearances, Riddick called Detroit’s offensive line one of the top 3 lines in the entire NFL.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Lions offensive line ninth in run blocking and 22nd in pass blocking last season. But it wasn’t a completely healthy unit.

The key to Detroit’s offensive line fulfilling Riddick’s top 3 expectation this season will likely be health.

Last season, starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai missed every game because of a back injury. Fellow guard Jonah Jackson also sat out four games because of various injuries.

Against, the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving last year, the Lions were down to practice squad players on the interior of their offensive line.

The health of the offensive line is already surfaced as a potential problem again for Detroit. Center Frank Ragnow shared with the media on May 18 that he “has no healthy tissue left” in his left toe and called the tear he suffered in the foot’s plantar plate in 2021 “inoperable.”

Ragnow first sustained that injury in 2021 and then re-injured the foot in Week 1 last year.

The hope, though, is Ragnow can deal with the pain, and Vaitai bounces back from back surgery. The Lions will need them to fulfill Riddick’s bold prediction and make the second NFC Championship Game in franchise history.