Detroit Lions: Predicting the Final Regular Season Record
Detroit Lions: Predicting the Final Regular Season Record
An offseason of exciting acquisitions has Detroit Lions' fans buzzing about the team's possibilities in 2013, but there are plenty of roadblocks on the schedule which could hurt the team's chances of making noise in the NFC North and making the playoffs.
Reggie Bush was the biggest of those acquisitions, and should be in just the right spot to do damage for the first time in his NFL career. He has had decent seasons as a back, but the Lions should give him the best chance to succeed with how well they fit his style of running.
Free agent safety Glover Quin is another one of the important pick-ups the Lions made. Quin should bring stability to a secondary who struggled to remain consistent throughout the regular season. The Lions were a pretty easy team to throw the ball against because of their lack of a leader in the secondary and Quin has proven he can be a defensive leader with the Houston Texans over the first few years of his career.
The biggest thing hindering the Lions in 2013 is the fact that they have one of the toughest schedules in the league, and while their division foes seem to be a bit more beatable than in the past, the Lions have one of the toughest schedules outside of the standard six meetings with their division rivals.
The biggest key will be whether or not the Lions can figure out a way to slow the opposing offenses. They've shown the ability to put points on the board with Matthew Stafford at the helm and Calvin Johnson catching passes, but their Achilles' heel has been their ability to keep their opponents off the scoreboard.
If the preseason is any indication, the should have a leg up from last season. First-round pick Ezekiel Ansah has already shown why the Lions went so high on the unproven hybrid defensive lineman. If the Lions can get the most out of him and the other key members of the defense, they should be able to stir up the division.
David Fouty is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davefouty, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.
Week 1: Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
Vikings 20, Lions 35
Adrian Peterson may want to be the first running back to rush for 2,500 yards, but I see the Lions game-planning to take care of him in Week 1. Focus seemed to be an issue in the past, but head coach Jim Schwarz knows his job is on the line and one of the most important things a team can do is get off to a good start. I see no reason the Lions shouldn't be able to take care of business at home and get off to a 1-0 start.
Week 2: Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
Lions 34, Cardinals 16
This prediction may seem a little out of whack, but I could see the Cardinals struggling through the beginning of the season, despite the fact there is a lot of buzz around the team. Having Carson Palmer at quarterback will help, but I think it will take them some time to come together as a unit.
Week 3: Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins
Lions 35, Redskins 38
This one is almost completely dependent on whether or not Robert Griffin III is healthy enough to be a factor. While the Redskins have a lot of hype around them and were able to make the postseason, I can't see them blowing the Lions out. They aren't consistent enough on defense to shut them down. I expect this one to be high-scoring
Week 4: Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
Bears 14, Lions 31
The Lions have shown that they can beat their rivals on their home field, and I see no reason why they can't do it again this season. Last years' blowout win was a good way to prove that they can beat the Bears and I could see them doing it again in 2013.
Week 5: Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
Lions 31, Packers 34
No, I don't think this will be the year the Lions finally win a game at Lambeau Field. It's not because the Packers are too good. It just seems like every time they head to northern Wisconsin, something gets in their head. I think they'll put up a fight, but walk away with a tough loss in the end.
Week 6: Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns
Lions 24, Browns 20
The Lions have much more experience than the Browns, and while many people are high on Cleveland this season, I think the Lions should be able to take care of this one on the road.
Week 7: Cincinatti Bengals @ Detroit Lions
Bengals 30, Lions 20
I think in the end of the season, this might be a game the Lions regret losing. You can chalk it up to a lack of focus, as playing back-to-back games against teams outside of the NFC will come back to bite them.
Week 8: Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
Cowboys 14, Lions 24
Tony Romo may still have a lot to prove, but the Lions should be able to take care of the Cowboys. They don't seem to have done much to improve in the offseason and are a perennial disappointment lately.
Week 10: Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Lions 34, Bears 14
Winning at Soldier Field has never been easy for the Lions, but this one sets up perfectly. The Lions will be coming off a bye week and facing the Bears just six days after they play a Monday Night Football game at Lambeau Field. It's been a long time coming, but I could see the Lions blowing the Bears out in this one.
Week 11: Detroit Lions @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Lions 38, Steelers 27
I think the win at Soldier Field will put the belief in the Lions that they can do big things this season. The Steelers have lost a couple key players in Mike Wallace and James Harrison, and it could easily be a down year for them.
Week 12: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions
Buccaneers 24, Lions 28
While the Bucs have made some important additions, I still question whether Josh Freeman is good enough to lead the Bucs to the big wins in pivotal road games. I could see them in the Wild Card race at the end of the season, but I feel like this will be one they let get away from them.
Week 13: Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Packers 24, Lions 28
The Packers have had the Lions' number for a long time, but the Lions keep showing signs that they aren't going to be pushed around. I think the close game at the beginning of the season will give them confidence that they can beat Green Bay and make it come to fruition by splitting the season series.
Week 14: Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles
Lions 10, Eagles 30
I think coming off the win against the Packers will be trouble for the Lions. Heading into Philadelphia doesn't help either, nor does the fact that the Eagles played one of the ugliest games in their teams history against the Lions the last time the two teams met. It's a perfect storm that could be trouble for Detroit.
Week 15: Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions
Ravens 24, Lions 21
I think the Lions will have a chance to win this game, but the experience factor will play off huge. A late-game drive seals the deal for the Ravens.
Week 16: New York Giants @ Detroit Lions
Giants 38, Lions 45
The Lions will find themselves against yet another tough opponent at the end of the season. I expect this one to be a shootout, with the Lions getting the job done with a couple key drive late in the game.
Week 17: Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Lions 20, Vikings 27
It doesn't really matter what the teams records are at the end of the year. Pride will be on the line for this game, and the Vikings' fans always help get their team in the game. I think the Vikings will be eliminated at this point, which makes this performance even more impressive.
Final Outcome Prediction
Final Regular Season Record: 10-6
While they may have one of the toughest schedules this season, the Lions haven't had much change around the organization lately. If it's not enough to win the division, it should be enough to at least earn a wild card spot and make the second postseason appearance in the Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford era. Schwartz has put a fire under this team in the past and I could see them putting together an impressive season.
There is little question that they'll be able to score points. The biggest issue has been the defense. I believe Ansah will force opponents to prepare for him on offense which is one of the biggest keys to disrupting an opponents offensive flow.
The Lions have shown the ability to be in the win column consistently, and now that they have gotten rid of a few of their troublemakers, I could see this team being poised for big things in 2013.