TDT NFL Power Rankings No. 14: Detroit Lions
The Lions haven't won a playoff game since 1991. Can they end their drought in 2017?
The Detroit Lions made the postseason and were well on their way to winning the NFC North just a season ago, but they let it slip through their grasps, dropping the last three games of the season. Even still, the Lions made the playoffs, but fell to the Seahawks in the Wild Card round. They are looking to get back there again in 2017 and the pressure is on, especially with head coach Jim Caldwell entering a contract year.
What I Like: The Lions offense has the potential to be really good this year. Matthew Stafford is coming off one of the most impressive seasons of his career. They have a dynamic duo forming in the backfield in Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Wide receiver Marvin Jones showed some glimpses of what he’s capable of last season as well and Golden Tate has been solid for a while now. The offensive line is much improved too, with the additions of Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.
What I Don’t Like: The Lions defense struggled mightily in 2016, so improving that side of the ball was a major objective for them in the offseason. They made a few good moves, but there have to still be some concerns heading into the season. They have a lot of rookies and second year players on their defense, but of course there will be a learning curve, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for a team with playoff aspirations.
Offensive MVP: QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw for well over 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. If the running game can improve over the previous season, it will allow for Stafford to open up the offense and air it out on opposing defenses.
Defensive MVP: S Glover Quin. Quin is the unquestioned leader of the Lions defense. He’s one of the most reliable players in the entire NFL, having not missed a single game since 2009. His efforts in all facets are going be an integral part of Detroit’s playoff hopes in 2017.
Season Outlook: At 29 years old, it’s time for Matthew Stafford to take the Lions to the next level. He will need plenty of help though in a competitive NFC. The offense has less holes than the defense, but it’s far from perfect. The defense is younger and quicker, but how fast can they gel together? I think the offense will be good enough to keep them in the playoff picture. A tough schedule may be their downfall though.
9-7, 2nd in NFC North