2009-10 Detroit Lions Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/25/2009
2008 record: 0-16 (0-8 H, 0-8 A); fourth in NFC North
2008 Against the spread: 7-9 (1-7 H, 6-2 A); 10-5-1 vs. Total (4-3-1 H, 6-2 A)
2008 rankings: 30th Offense (30th Rush, 24th Pass); 32nd Defense (32nd Rush, 27th Pass)
2009 odds: 100-1 Super Bowl odds (tied for longest with Rams); 65-1 NFC Championship odds (longest in conference); 15-1 NFC North odds; 4 ½ wins (O/U)
There really aren't enough adjectives to describe the ineptness of the Lions last season as they became the first NFL team ever to finish 0-16. Yet shockingly, Detroit also covered in its final six road games last year. And the Lions probably should have beaten NFC North champ Minnesota not once but twice.
As expected, the Lions cleaned house, getting rid of coach Rod Marinelli and his staff and also making changes in the front office - although somewhat surprisingly the team didn't go outside the organization to replace GM Matt Millen, who was fired during last season. New head coach Jim Schwartz wasn't a sexy hire, but he plans to build from the inside out, which is the polar opposite of Millen, who seemed to always take skill position players (especially receivers) with his No. 1 pick. In fairness to Millen, however, the best player on this team is receiver Calvin Johnson, one of those rare picks that panned out.
Schwartz is considered a defensive coach, which is good considering that unit gave up 6,470 yards last year, the second highest total ever in the NFL. It was just a handful of points allowed from breaking that record as well. The secondary only had one interception in 2008. The team added veteran defenders Grady Jackson, Larry Foote, Julian Peterson, Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry to help stabilize that side of the ball. New defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has a good track record and will make the unit aggressive, already having installed more than 40 blitzes.
On offense, there are a few pieces in place. I mentioned Johnson, who caught 78 passes for 1,331 yards and 12 TDs last year. He would start on every team in the NFL. And running back Kevin Smith had a nice rookie season, rushing for 978 yards and eight TDs. The future at QB is obviously 2009 No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford, but he might not be thrown to the wolves right away, especially after struggling in his first preseason start against the Browns. Daunte Culpepper has lost 30 pounds this offseason and reportedly is mobile again. He also is reunited with new Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who was calling the plays in Minnesota when Culpepper threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2004. "I haven't felt this good since that season," said Culpepper.
2009-10 Detroit Lions Predictions: Overall, there are expected to be only between 20-25 players left on this roster from Opening Day last year. That's a good thing. I can guarantee this team doesn't go winless again. Do the Lions reach the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season? Not a chance. The first order of business is to end that 17-game regular-season losing streak. Don't be shocked if that comes Sept. 27 at home against the Redskins. Look for at least three wins this year, but it's a safe bet to take the under 4 ½. Any other wagers are a waste of money.
Most Recent Fall Football Preview
- Purdue Boilermakers Football Predictions
- WAC Football Predictions
- Mountain West Conference Football Predictions
- West Virginia Mountaineers Football Predictions
- Pittsburgh Panthers Football Predictions
- MAC Football Predictions
- New York Jets Predictions
- BCS Predictions
- AFC West: Win Totals
- Detroit Lions Predictions