Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lions Congregation: Early Prediction

Lions Congregation: Early Prediction

June 20th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

Hello and welcome once again to the Lions Congregation! This week, we answer a question that has been asked of us about a half dozen times in different ways over the last couple of weeks. Considering the nature of the question combined with differeing levels of cornbread intake from the panel, we have a wide range of answers this week. Have a question you would like to see answered? Email!

This week’s panel is:

Al of the Wayne Fontes Experience
Steve of Detroit Lions Web Log
Michael of the Blue & Silver Pride
NetRat of The Net Rat Detroit Lions Page
Blades Boyd formerly of the Church of Schwartz
Joshua (DetFan1979) of Roar of the Lions

Question (Jared M., Jaden Z., Mike C. and others): What is your best guess/expectations/thoughts for the Lions’ record this year?

Al: Best guess? 6 wins. The Lions’ best case scenario, if everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) goes right, is 8 wins. Worst case is 4 wins, and considering the Lions’ luck (all bad) over the past decade, a worst case scenario isn’t far from the realm of possibility.

Expectations? I’m not asking for much. Not being out of the playoff picture by the end of September would be one. Having a middle of the pack offense and anything other than the worst in the league defense is another. Decade after decade of suck, with the last decade being as bad as bad can get, tends to lower one’s expectations in the Lions. The disappointment doesn’t hurt as much that way.

Thoughts? For all the kudos and plaudits the Lions’ brain trust of Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz have received over the past 2 off seasons, their numerous moves (the vast majority I no issue with) didn’t do much to raise the on-field performance or most importantly, on the scoreboard and the win/loss record.. This season we HAVE to see some progress you can measure on the scoreboard and the standings. I’m not asking for miracles, but I am asking for improvement.

6 wins would be a 4 win improvement. I’ve said it over and over, but bears repeating. In most NFL cities, a 4 win improvement would mean your team is contending for the playoffs. In Detroit, however, it means the Lions move from being historically awful to mere run-of-the-mill bad to mediocre.

After living through the Millen years, I’ll take mediocre…if it means I’m seeing improvement.

Steve: In my opinion, the Lions season hinges upon the improvement of their offensive & defensive lines and secondary. If these position groups can even be league average, I think that the Lions could be a seven win team.

If those position groups falter and/or the team is severely injury-stricken, three or four wins are a reasonable expectation. Anything less would be an unmitigated disaster for both Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew.

Michael: I think the Lions are headed in the right direction but I hate to start prognosticating before seeing a full contact practice or a preseason game. The wins should be on their way but this team needs to stay healthy to get anything done. Really, any injury to Calvin Johnson or any offensive linemen or defensive players would send this team into a tailspin.

However, it is noteworthy that this is the first year in recent memory that injuries to the quarterback and running backs might not doom the Lions. Both Shaun Hill and Maurice Morris are capable backups–something Lions fans have not seen in a long time.

The one prediction I will make is that one player will suit up in week one that isn’t currently on the roster. Whether its Atogwe, Bulluck, or some training camp cut signing, someone new will crack the lineup.

NetRat: My first thought is, it’s too soon to make a decent guess. I need a couple of preseason games and my annual visit to an open practice to make an informed total guess, but I suppose I can make an uninformed total guess instead. The middle of the pack, 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 range seems the safest bet at this point. There are a ton of factors to this of course. Will the 2010 batch of free agents work out better then the 2009 group? One would think so but there isn’t any proof of that yet. The infusion of talent from the 2010 draft, and having the 2009 draft picks with a year under their belt kind of makes some kind of improvement a given, but to what extent, and can they all get, or stay, healthy? A 2nd year for the entire roster with the same coaching scheme, coaches, playbook, etc has to help as well. The new special teams coach should actually be a benefit rather then a negative.

I can see it going well for the team if certain things come together, and I can see frustration setting in if those things don’t, so it’ll be no surprise to me if this question gets all kinds of answers. I do believe the Lions will have a better team to field, a more competitive team, and with that anything can happen. If as many good things happen as bad, then we’re back once again to the 8-8, 7-9, or 9-7 sandbox. In another 2 months or so perhaps we can get a better idea of what kind of sandcastle we can build out of it

Blades: The Lions will finish 4-12. Take it to the bank. 4-12. If you look at their schedule they have five “winable” games. (Rams, Bears at home, Bucs, Dolphins’, New York Giants) Although the Lions do have an extremely tough schedule, it could be argued they got extremely lucky as well seeing as they play in Chicago in Week One and in Green Bay in Week Four. Not to mention games at New York and Buffalo in mid October and mid November. This means the Lions won’t have to worry about playing in any cold weather games because they somehow got extremely lucky playing in Tampa and Miami back to back weeks in December. A few reasons why they will go 4-12:

1. The secondary can’t stop a JV team. Besides Delmas, this group doesn’t offer a single player who could be considered “above average” and that is not good. Sure the pass rush should help them out a little but it won’t be enough. Teams will run a three receiver set and leave a RB and a TE in as extra blockers and teams will have a field day passing against the Lions.

2. Injuries. It seems every year the Lions are decimated by injuries and I can’t figure out why. Calvin Johnson is always hurt and will sit out a couple games, Stafford still has no O-Line and will get hit quite frequently and, heaven forbid, if Delmas goes down, we might not win a game all season.

3. They’re the Lions. Plain and simple. People will come out like they do every year and predict an 8-8 season or predict even a 6-10 season but those people simply aren’t looking at the facts. The fact of the matter is Nate Burleson doesn’t scare anyone as a #2 receiver, the O line is below average, our best pass rusher is a 32 year old who had three sacks last year and we have a starting quarterback who was very inaccurate and tossed more red zone int’s then any other QB in the league. Is there room for hope??? Absolutely!!!! But we are still a year away from even coming close to an 8-8 team.

DetFan1979: If I could tell the future, I would be driving a much nicer car to see all the Lions practices and watch every game from my private box after flying in on a private jet from whatever beautifual locale I was lounging about with Mrs. DetFan1979 and the Little Pink Lions. Seriously, I am just plain awful at predicting what the Lions will do record wise any given season. Last year I was pretty sure they could eke out four wins, and they came at me with two after another disasterous year of injuries. While the depth keeps getting better as they replace “starters” with real starters and the former starters become depth, that depth at this point wasn’t that great as starters to start with.

In other words, it’s all about injuries. IF all the moves work perfectly and everyone clicks right away and the rookies don’t just develop, but explode out of the gate as current pro-bowlers and the whole team stays healthy while 3 or 4 of the relatively uknown players the team takes a flyer on exceed the wildest expectations out there, this team could win 14 games in 2010. I could also wake up a billionaire with an acute deductive mind and a cape & tights wearing alter ego. Neither is very probable.

Depending on how all of the above listed actually work out, this team could be anywhere from 5 wins to 9 wins with probability making the low end more likely. There is a higher probability of injuries than there is of all the moves working out well enought to cover for such. Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz have made a lot of changes on the team, with a vast majority of the roster not seeing the 0-16 season on the field as part of the organization. With the trades and other moves that Mayhew has made to jump start the talent level outside of the draft, Schwartz needs to pull the Lions out of ridicoulously awful and into merely not so great to medicore territory. He needs 5-6 wins to do that. The Lions can NOT be picking in the top 5 again next year, period.

I can grant that it is likely 2011 before we see that 8-8 level team that has a shot at the playoffs — but the reasonable jump is not 2-14, 2-14, 8-8, 9-7+. If the plan of gradually building a better team is working as they have outlined, then team will need to gradually improve with it — that means a 3-4 win improvement each season until they are in the over-.500 club of making a playoff push season after season. I expect to see that gradual improvement begin to manifest in 2010. {swirls cape and exits dramatically}

Rating: 8.9/10 (11 votes cast)
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5 Responses to “Lions Congregation: Early Prediction”

  1. By Brendan on Jun 21, 2010

    I have feeling that those on the low end of win predictions (4 or 5 wins) will be proven correct.

    My solitary hope for the Lions is that they field a competitive team and when they play teams like the NY Jets and NE Patriots they will not embarass themselves and make those teams earn their victories. There can be no games like last year’s debacle in Baltimore.

    When people do predict victories they underestimate how tough it is to win 7 or 8 games in the NFL. The Lions are still a season or two away from that kind of accomplishment.

    And another thing to keep in mind if the Lions lose their first two games (@ Chicago and at home vs Philadelphia) the narrative will get negative as the Lions will be sure to break their own record of 24 straight home losses. A team that has suffered horrifying losses for three straight seasons needs to get some early season victories and establish some confidence and their early schedule will make this difficult. The Lions need to make a statement with their early season play.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By Brendan on Jun 21, 2010

    Excuse me, that would be 24 straight road losses. They’re at 20 right now so if they lose to Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota and NY Giants (quite possible) they’ll go for the record against the Buffalo Bills, who, luckily, will be among the worse (if not the worst) team in the league.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By detfan1979 on Jun 21, 2010

    I agree it is more likely to fall on the lower end — however, don’t be quite so down on that first Bears game to open the season on the road. the Bears have a lot of issues on both sides of the ball — including an aging defense, and offensive line woes they have done little to address. Also, they will be running their first game in a Martz timing offense, and that could be very brutal for an offense that isn’t known to be adept at the best of times. While the early part of their schedule is tough, a road win at Chicago is very possible, and could be just the thing this young Lions team needs to get the right vibe going into the season — a road win against a division foe would be huge.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  4. By Clusterfox on Jun 22, 2010

    I agree with DF. But he says it alot nicer than I would. IMO if you think that week 1 against the Bears in the first year of Martz’s offense is already an L. Why bother following the Lions during this coming season, let alone take the time to follow them and their news in June.
    I don’t have a problem with the Congregations question, but it does raise an interesting issue. When wandering around the same sites as the rest of you, I noticed how defensive and definitive people are about their #of wins predictions. when the truth is, the difference between 4 wins and 8 wins is miniscule. Especially when you consider that about 10% of the variables that present themselves in the seasons equation have yet to even present themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not nknocking the Swami game, its just that everyone defends thier predictions with such staunch denial of having missed anything.
    So here is whats actually going to happen this year.
    1- Haynesworth gets traded to the Vikings, he’s so happy to be traded that upon seeing Brett, he jumps up and down, and crushes Favre foot. (2 wins)
    2- KVB teaches Olsen that play TE might require blocking every once and a while. Cutler is out, martz quits, bears spend half there year with an interim coach.(thats 2 more)
    3- some sort of freak cheese accident leaves Rodgers and Jennings, with an allergic reaction that no one can quite determine. (thats 6 in the division)
    we pick up 2 more on our way to the store,giving us 8, most likely a Divisional crown and playoff birth just like Delmas told me. I always knew that guy had a gift.

    In all seriousness, enjoy your day, enjoy your summer. We are not the lowly lions anymore, and no number of predicted wins gets us anywhere. We will play with purpose and intensity, and we will not be a door mat again this coming season.


    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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