Predicting the Detroit Lions season-ending record in 2018

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With the Detroit Lions regular season about to kick off, here’s our prediction for their season-ending record following a rough preseason.

The Detroit Lions head into the 2018 NFL regular season with more questions about their team’s immediate future then they had at the beginning of the year. A new head coach along with many new faces along their coaching staff and roster make this 2018 version of the Lions appear very different than the team that went 9-7 just last season.

Following a rocky preseason in which the team went 1-3 and, more importantly, their starters did not seem to play well, concerns that Detroit will be unable to duplicate the success they achieved under their previous head coach, Jim Caldwell, are legitimate.

It was believed the Lions’ defense would instantly improve under the guidance of new head coach Matt Patricia. As the former defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, Patricia was seemingly able to lead a less-talented defense to repeated postseason success, having been to six-straight AFC Championship games before making the move to the Motor City.

But the vanilla schemes often offered in the preseason showed little of Patricia’s magic. The hope is his playbook prowess manifests itself this Monday against the New York Jets. For now, all we can base our upcoming season predictions on is what we’ve seen in the offseason, through a tough training camp, and the play of a team in transition in the preseason.

We start with the Lions first five games before the bye week: New York Jets, @ San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, @ Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers. I think there is a real possibility Detroit goes 1-4 during this stretch. But following Week Six, the hope has to be that Patricia’s defensive scheme has started to take hold.

Here’s the rest of their scheduled opponents starting in Week Seven: @ Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, @ Minnesota Vikings, @ Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, @ Arizona Cardinals, @ Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, and @ Green Bay Packers.

Let’s suppose the Lions win half of their divisional matchups, I still only have Detroit winning five games in the above stretch, giving them a record of 6-10. So, as you can see, it’s critical that the Motor City gets off to a hot start before their bye week.

Here’s the season-ending prediction offered by Detroit Free Press beat reporter Dave Birkett.

"” … I had the Lions at 7-9. That’s two wins fewer than I had them down for this spring, when I made my first-glance prediction after the schedule came out. They didn’t look good this preseason, I think we can all agree on that. And their roster isn’t as talented top to bottom as some of the other teams on their schedule.”"

Next. Detroit Lions: The best draft picks of the past decade. dark

The truth is no one knows the future. The Detroit Lions could flourish under Matt Patricia’s leadership and emerge as the league’s hottest team. And some of their upcoming opponents could take a step or two down. And suddenly, what appear to be overwhelming matchups today could become winnable contests tomorrow. That’s why they play the games.