Detroit Lions 2020 Season Preview
3-12-1 looks horrible on paper, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of 2019 in Detroit. Matthew Stafford got injured in week 9, the back-ups faltered and the season crumbled as they failed to win another game. With Stafford under center providing some sort of offense they went 3-4-1, a much fairer representation of this team. Defensively there were huge issues as they gave up more passing yards than any other team – predominantly due to their inability to apply pressure on the quarterback, which translated into plenty of points. They need to address the defensive woes of 2019 and, providing Stafford stays healthy, 2020 looks brighter.
Darius Slay heading to the Eagles looks a big loss at cornerback, but Detroit addressed this in the draft using their first-round pick on Ohio State star Jeff Okudah. The draft also saw the exciting addition of running back D’Andre Swift. They still lack any sort of proven sack merchant outside of Trey Flowers but have improved the front seven with the likes of former Patriots’ Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins.
Providing quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay healthy there is definite promise in Detroit’s offense. The receiving corps has genuine weapons, with Pro Bowler Kenny Golladay backed up by Marvin Jones Jr and Danny Amendola. At tight end, 2019 first-rounder T.J. Hockenson will hope to offer Stafford a viable security blanket, and after an anonymous rookie season this may well be his breakout year!
The offensive line is solid and has the potential to get better, particularly if rookie right guard Jonah Jackson can settle in straight away. This bodes well for a talented running back room: Second-rounder D’Andre Swfit can be a threat both on the ground and through the air. And if Kerryon Johnson can bounce back from an injury hit 2019 to rediscover his rookie form this running game could be dangerous.
It can’t get any worse defensively than last season for Detroit, and there are signs that better things lie ahead. Reggie Ragland and Jamie Collins look solid acquisitions at linebacker and Danny Shelton a steady option at tackle. They need to find more consistency getting to the quarterback and it will be interesting to see if incoming defensive co-ordinator Cory Undlin can remedy this.
Now plying his trade in Philadelphia, cornerback Darius Slay is a tough man to replace in the secondary. But Detroit may have unearthed a gem in Jeff Okudah, who many considered the best corner in the draft. Meanwhile Tracy Walker and Duron Harmon form a reliable safety pairing. Overall, this is a good looking secondary but without help from the front seven it could be a long season on the back end.
Matt Patricia has cut a rather cantankerous figure during his time in Detroit. Rumours of player discord coupled with a lack of results on the field put him firmly on the hotseat. Does he have the roster to save his job?
The Lions offense could be potent in 2020 providing their quarterback can stay on the field, but they still have massive questions to answer on defense. They are the polar opposites of their divisional rivals Chicago in this sense and I expect the two lopsided outfits to produce similar records in 2020.
Detroit Lions 2020 Record Prediction
7-9 (Joint-last in the NFC North)
MICHAEL’S INTEREST IN THE NFL BECAME AN OBSESSION ONCE HIS ATTENDANCE AT SUNDAY DINNER WAS NO LONGER MANDATORY, HE FOLLOWS THE RAVENS AND HAS A SOFT SPOT FOR THE DOLPHINS. YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER @NORBURYMIKE.