Breaking Down Surprising Lions’ Ceiling, Floor 2021 Record Projection

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell looks on during a Colts vs. Lions preseason game in 2021.

The Detroit Lions have played out the preseason as well as training camp, and now they are finally beginning to set their sights on tackling the 2021 season as well as resetting their focus on Week 1.

This year, most folks already know the Lions will be facing a tough schedule, and when combined with some of their bare spots on the roster, that can make for a difficult reality. As a result, it isn’t expected to be that great of a year for the team once the games start to count.

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When push comes to shove, what is the Lions’ ceiling and floor expected to be in terms of record? That might not be an easy question to answer for some, but ESPN’s NFL Nation team recently took a shot at shedding some light on the issue and the news might be pretty decent for weary Lions fans.

The site recently projected their best and worst case scenarios for 2021 record around the league. In terms of the Lions, the ceiling was said to be a respectable 8-9 season, while the floor was revealed to be a dismal 3-14 record. That’s a lot of variety and a huge difference in terms of what could happen this season in the Motor City.

Obviously, many figure the Lions to struggle given their roster limitations amid a rebuild, so it isn’t hard to see where the 3-14 record comes in. That’s especially true when looking at some of the recent odds for the team that have been dropped ahead of the season.

Lions Predicted to Struggle During 2021

The Lions have been picked as a team that will finish last in the NFC North, and if not last, certainly near the basement. The same is true for the NFC as a whole. Not many see the Lions making a big enough impact on the field to do consistent winning in 2021. Some even believe the Lions will be bad enough to finish in last and have a chance at one of the top overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft when it comes up.

Back in late July, MGM revealed their look at some odds for the 2021 season game by game, and the Lions aren’t favored in a single contest. That’s a perfect 0-17 in terms of predictions for the team heading into every single week of next season on the field, ensuring the team will head into the year as underdogs in the biggest possible way.

On the flip side of things, the Lions have been favored in games before and not pulled out wins, so this fact isn’t exactly the end of the world for the team. The Lions will come into the season without much fanfare and will have a chance to sneak up on some teams that might overlook them thanks to factoids like this.

Let the overlooking commence, because it’s clear the Lions aren’t going to be anyone’s favorites in any game they play this coming season. Obviously, if they play to this level, this fact could be a good way for the team to not meet expectations and come closer to reaching their floor than their ceiling.

How Lions Reach Ceiling Record While Avoiding Floor

For the Lions, the path to a 7-8 or 8-9 record is quite simple. The team has to see plenty of facets come together in short order. The defensive backfield has to jell ad see elite play from a pair of young cornerbacks. The offensive line has to be as good as advertised, and Detroit has to run the football well. A new-look wideout group has to see more hits than misses in terms of young players developing. The defensive line has to prove it is as deep as it seems, while getting some solid play from linebacker along the way. Other key pass catchers such as T.J. Hockenson have to live up to high expectations, and Jared Goff has to exceed what many figure is the beginning of the end of his career in Detroit.

While all of this might sound complicated and nearly impossible, hot streaks can and do happen in football. Detroit has a brand new staff that the players believe in, and if those players come together in a way that many folks aren’t expecting to rally for that staff, the team could reach higher than their potential and pull a few upsets along the way. As Goff has aptly pointed out, the Lions are no different than any other team with high expectations and has plenty of pieces regardless of what people think.

Can they meet them? The law of averages says the team will likely finish somewhere in the middle of this floor and ceiling projection, but the chance is certainly on the table for the team to impress in a surprising way.

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