2014 was a tough year for the Detroit Lions and their fans. The team did really well for the majority of the season, but ended up losing out on the division championship that they were frontrunners to win for a while. They made the playoffs; but after leading for the majority of the game, they had the W stolen from them on arguably the worst picked-up flag incident in NFL history.
Things didn’t get much better this offseason. Detroit lost a lot of talent and weren’t able to recover nearly as much in free agency—especially on defense.
Saying the Lions’ defense carried the team in 2014 would be an understatement. Through the first half of the season, the Lions defense was actually better than that of the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Ndamukong Suh held down the entire defensive line, making them one of the top in the NFL easily, especially in run stuffing.
Well, Suh left to join the Miami Dolphins. Then Nick Fairley left. Then C.J. Mosley left. Talk about leaving a void. The Lions basically went from top-3 defensive lines in professional football to nothing overnight.
The front office did their best to stop the bleeding by bringing in Baltimore Ravens star Haloti Ngata, which was a great pickup. Ngata is 31, but he is still a dominant force in the league. On top of that, Ziggy Ansah is still there. Between Ansah, Ngata, and the additional signing of Tyrunn Walker, the Lions won’t be nearly as good on the line, but at least they can compete.
The Lions’ offense is about the same as last season, and although it should be fantastic, it probably won’t be. History says that it’ll fizzle out and not even come close to the high expectations.
Making the playoffs will probably be a long shot for the Lions in 2015. The first five weeks will be critical either way, as the Lions open up against the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and Denver Broncos. If the Lions start out 2-3 or 1-4 because of these games, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Don’t forget they still need to matchup against the Green Bay Packers twice.
The Lions should be able to win about eight or nine games this season, but in the NFC that doesn’t necessarily translate to a playoff appearance. They’ll need to do a lot better than that if they want to go anywhere come January.