2021 Record: 3-13-1
2022 Win Total: 6.5 wins
Over 6.5 -135
Under 6.5 +105
Yards Per play: 21st 5.2
Yards per pass attempt: 27th 6.5
Offensive QB Sack percentage: 11th 5.72%
Yards per run: 11th 4.4
3rd down conversion rate: 31st 34.74%
Turnover Margin: 22nd -0.2
Yards Per Play allowed: 30th 5.9
Yards per pass attempt allowed: 32nd 7.6
Yards allowed per rush: 21st 4.4
Defensive QB sack rate: 27th 5.23%
Notable losses: Danny Amendola WR
Notable additions: DJ Chark WR. Deshon Elliot S
1st Round Draft Pick(s): Aidan Hutchinson DE Michigan, Jameson Williams WR Alabama
Strength of schedule: 5th (1 Easiest, 32 Hardest)
The Lions endured their first season without Matthew Stafford and likely missed their star QB as he won the super bowl in LA. While expectations were low, the offense still left a lot to be desired. Jared Goff turned in a lackluster 27th ranking in yards per pass attempt without Sean McVay in his ear. Detroit started the season 0-8 and got to 0-10-1 before winning their first game. The bright side for the Lions was that they may have some stars in the making on offense. D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown have massive potential for a team that needs help wherever they can get it. Ultimately their final record was to be expected given the complete overhaul of the team.
The Lions retain all of their key pieces for 2022 which should provide a lot of chemistry early on in the season. They also added wide receiver DJ Chark and first round draft pick Jameson Williams who can provide valuable production alongside St. Brown. Hopefully these three receivers along with tight end TJ Hockenson can elevate the Lions to at least top 24 in yards per pass attempt. On the ground is where the Lions actually held their own. For a team that only had three wins last season, it was surprising to see them top 11 in yards per run. Assuming D’Andre Swift can stay healthy, it’s not unreasonable to expect that same level of production for this season. It also helps that the Lions will have two young offensive lineman getting another year of experience. Left guard Jonah Jackson and right tackle Penei Sewell enter their 3rd and 2nd year in the league respectively. Overall this side of the ball seems to have only gotten more talent and more experience for this upcoming season.
Outside of yards per run, the Lions were bottom five in every other statistical category that I look at. Needless to say, Detroit can only go up from here. Starting on the defensive line, the Lions added second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson to help improve their 27th rank pass rush. Detroit would also like to get Romeo Okwara healthy again given he recorded ten sacks himself in 2020. Given the Lions only had three players record more than two sacks last season, any help is welcomed. In the secondary, where the Lions ranked 32nd in yards allowed per pass attempt, the Lions have the most to improve. Hopefully former number three overall pick Jeff Okudah can return for a full season this year after missing every game but one in 2021 due to an Achilles injury. The Lions also added Deshon Elliot who can hopefully provide some veteran experience at safety.
Detroit went 1-5-1 in games decided by four or less points last season. While I would normally lean towards the over in this scenario, I’m somewhat surprised that they were in that many close games to begin with. Given their season long statistics, I’m surprised they found themselves so close to winning more games. The offense should get better in 2022, and the defense has nowhere to go but up. Factor in the league’s 5th easiest schedule, and I can see why their win total is not just 6.5 but also favored towards the over. Ultimately I think -135 is too much juice, and I would rather go under and expect a six win season for the Lions.