Last year, the Detroit Lions stumbled down the stretch, costing Jim Schwartz his job. The hope was this year would be different. Well, it may be different, but perhaps not in the way you were hoping. Well, if you are a Lions fan, definitely not in the way your hoping.
First, there's the little matter of the guy who replaced Schwartz. That man in Jim Caldwell. Now, I wasn't happy when he was hired, because he does not have a good track record, but those concerns are somewhat solidified by a recent ESPN.com article wherein many folks within the NFL were asked to rate the NFL's coaches. Caldwell finished 27th, and he was one of only two coaches to get more than one five, which was the worst on the scale of 1-5 that this survey used.
Now, this is just a subjective matter, to a degree, but it shows the conventional wisdom, one I agree with. Frankly, I was expecting Caldwell to end up a little lower. People just don't think Caldwell is a good coach... because he isn't. He's going to be a burden, if anything, to the Lions.
Meanwhile, over in the land of numbers, Football Outsiders ran their programs and their formulas and their simulations to find the odds regarding who will have the worst record in the NFL this season. The list only goes 10 deep, and the Lions are on it. In fact, they are fourth. Yes, according to Football Outsiders' numbers, the Detroit Lions have the fourth best chance of finishing with the worst record in the NFL.
Now, their chances of going 4-12 or worse is only 20.2%, so that's only really a one in five chance, and a 4-12 record wouldn't necessarily guarantee the worst record in the NFL. Still, the notion that the Lions are that likely to finish with that bad of a record is concerning. It's all predictive, sure, but it is not encouraging.
Basically, what we have here is a head coach that NFL personnel don't like and a team the advanced statistics don't like. With this in mind, I can't find much positivity for the Lions this year. Jim Schwartz lost his job last season. When this year is over, we could see Martin Mayhew looking for a new job, and perhaps Caldwell with him. Maybe we shall be surprised, but you can't count on the surprising.