In The Bettors Corner: Detroit Lions

When the Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1991 divisional playoffs in the Old Pontiac Silverdome, it had been 34 years since their last playoff win. An amazing amount of time between playoff victories, most thought a number like that would never be approached again. Alas, when the season begins for the Lions in 2021, they will be 29 years removed from that playoff win!! The Lions have only three playoff appearances since 2000, and they have finished last in the there division three years in a row. When general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia were fired after the 2020 Thanksgiving day loss to Houston, they had compiled a 13-29-1 record over the last three years. They left behind a series of bad draft picks, a divided locker room, and an aging quarterback that was not up for yet another rebuild in Detroit. At least we can say the new regime in Detroit did good by their all-time leader in most passing categories. Matthew Stafford was not interested in another rebuild, so when he asked for a trade, he was sent to Los Angeles to become the new Rams quarterback. The Lions received a 2021 third-rounder, the Rams' first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, and Jared Goff. The former number one pick in 2016. What the Lions do with those picks will be the key to how fast they can get back to respectability. The Lions hired former tight end and NFL assistant coach Dan Campbell to be their new head coach and be the face of the team's turnaround. Campbell has never been a head coach at any level; he hasn't even been a coordinator. He was not on any team's list to even interview for a head coaching position, and the Lions decided to give him the overwhelming task of bringing the Lions their first playoff win in 29 years. Campbell was able to hire Aaron Glen to run his defense and Duece Staley to handle the offense. Both ex-players have a tremendous amount of respect around the league. The offense was ranked 20th in yards per game ( 350.2), and points scored (23.6). They were 30th in rushing yards per game( 93.7). They have not finished in the top half of the league in rushing since Barry Sanders was running the ball in 1998!! They lost Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola all to free agency. Unfortunately, the defensive numbers look just as bad. They ranked last in yards per game (419.8) and points given up(32.4). They had only 24 sacks and 7 interceptions.

The Lions play seven playoff teams from 2020, including the Bears and Packers twice. They play the AFC north which is the only division to have three playoff teams last year. Their annual Thanksgiving Day game is against Chicago, and their extra game is at Denver. After opening the season at home against San Francisco, they play three of the next four on the road, including September 20th at Green Bay on Monday night football. They finish the season with two of their last three on the road, at Atlanta and Seattle. The season ends home against the Packers. Home games in October against Cincinnati and Philadelphia could be where Campbell picks up his first career win.

The Lions are a bad football team, and there is no reason to think Campbell will be the man to lead this franchise out of the abyss. There are too many positions that have no talent at all. Goff is likely a one-year stopgap until Detroit drafts the quarterback of the future. They have the draft picks to start rebuilding and an owner who is desperate to win, but this will take a while and could even be Detroit holding the number one pick next year in Las Vegas for the 2022 draft.

Detroit Lions are under 5.

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