In one week, the Detroit Lions begin their regular season. Last years was a major disappointment, as the team fell to 4-12 after making the playoffs the season prior. However, as I have mentioned before, the Lions were unlucky last season, and simple regression should help them out. Detroit also made some additions to their team on both offense and defense, such as Reggie Bush, Glover Quin, and Ziggy Ansah. The offensive line is being revamped. How will the Lions fare in 2013? Here are my predictions for every game.
Week 1 vs. Minnesota: The Lions open the season up at home against their divisional rivals the Vikings. These two teams will probably be battling to avoid the cellar of the NFC North. While the Lions should rebound, I expect the Vikings to regress. Football Outsiders is quite down on them as well. Adrian Peterson is great, but he won't be as good. I think I will take the Lions to open up the season by eking out a victory.
Week 2 at Arizona: The Cardinals have a new head coach, who tends to get his quarterback beat up, no real running game, issues on the offensive line, and Carson Palmer under center. Arizona's defense is very good, but I expect Detroit to get after Palmer all day, and I think they will earn the win here too.
Week 3 at Washington: By this point, Robert Griffin III should be back up to speed, and as such I don't think Detroit can beat them on the road. This will be Detroit's first loss.
Week 4 vs. Chicago: I will be interested to see how Chicago's offense works under Marc Trestman. They have some turnover on defense in Chicago, but it should still be very good, and I think Jay Cutler is a very good quarterback with more weapons and a better offensive line. Even at home, this is probably a loss so Detroit falls to 2-2.
Week 5 at Green Bay: Not a ton to say. The Lions at Lambeau Field against a much better team? Loss.
Week 6 at Cleveland: The Browns intrigue me. They have new coaches and coordinators and I think they will be greatly improved. However, I don't know if they will be quite as good as Detroit. Ah, but the Lions are on the road. This really feels like a tossup. If Brandon Weeden proves legitimate, I think the Browns will win this one. I am not quite sure he is a legitimate starter though, so I will give this one to Detroit to make them 3-3.
Week 7 vs. Cincinnati: The Lions are at home, but the Bengals are very tough on defense and have just enough on offense. Even at Ford Field, I expect the Lions to lose this game, but the upset is definitely possible.
Week 8 vs. Dallas: I think the Cowboys are often underrated, and Tony Romo gets a bad wrap. I don't think the Lions can stop Dez Bryant. However, I predict the Lions beats the Cowboys in a shootout. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if most of Detroit's games are shootouts.
Week 9 is a bye, with the Lions at 4-4.
Week 10 at Chicago: Well, if I don't think Detroit can beat the Bears at home, I figure this will be a loss as well.
Week 11 at Pittsburgh: I expect the Steelers to not be quite what they have been in the recent past, more like what they were last season, but Pittsburgh should be able to beat the Lions at home, so this looks like another loss.
Week 12 vs. Tampa Bay: I expect the Bucs to be a tough team this season, their offense has some weapons and their secondary should be improved, but I think the Lions are just as good. With Detroit at home, I'll take the Lions to win another close one.
Week 13 vs. Green Bay: It's Thanksgiving, and the Lions may be able to win it, but I don't think they will. The Packers are too good. So, at this point, the Lions would be 5-7.
Week 14 at Philadelphia: The Eagles are really interesting to me, because I am a big fan of Chip Kelly, and I think he will do some exciting things with Philly. I also don't expect them to be very good this season. Even on the road, I'll give this one to Detroit.
Week 15 vs. Baltimore: This game is on Monday Night Football. The Ravens lost a lot this offseason, but honestly I think they will be just as good. Of course, even though they won the Super Bowl last season they weren't a great team. They are better than the Lions, though, so this is a likely loss.
Week 16 vs. New York Giants: At home, I think this is a win for Detroit. The Giants could possibly win the NFC East, but they aren't that good, either. New York needs to be healthier and get better play on their defense. I am not totally sold on that.
Week 17 at Minnesota: At this point, if my predictions are correct, which they almost certainly won't be, the Lions will be 7-8. They will be out of the playoff race, but have the chance to finish .500, which is, you know, something. Again, I think these teams are quite close to one another in terms of talent. I don't like Christian Ponder, but in other aspects of the game the Vikings are better than Detroit. Plus, this game is on the road. Another close one, but I think Detroit loses, and falls to 7-9 on the season.
Well, a 7-9 season, while an improvement, wouldn't be a terribly good result for the Lions. It may not save Jim Schwartz or Martin Mayhew's jobs. However, a 7-9 record could easily be improved upon with a bit of luck. If the Lions were in the AFC, I figure they would be a playoff team. The issue is that the Lions are not, in fact, in the AFC, and the NFC is really tough. Personally, I think the best case scenario for the Lions is going 11-5, and the worst case is another 4-12 season. I don't expect either of those things to happen, though. I expect 7-9. I expect mediocrity.