Worst Case Scenarios
Would you rather… have the Lions suffer a miserable 1-15 season, or a 7-9 season (that could be equally miserable in its own way)?
My assumption is that either way, anything lower than nine wins will result in the head coach and probably some front office personnel being replaced at season’s end. Neither or these scenarios would result in anything resembling the postseason.
While the 7-9 route would mean a much more competitive season, there are plenty who feel that the extra wins aren’t worth the purgatory of mediocrity and the feeling of being stuck in neutral. After all, this argument states, if we’re going to suck, might as well get a shiny new draft pick out of it. If you’re a Stafford detractor and a Trevor Lawrence believer, the thought of burning it all down and starting over might have some appeal.
My Answer: I’m taking 7-9, no doubt about that. In my lifetime, the Lions have picked fifth (twice), third (three times), second (three times), and first (once) in the NFL draft. True, some of those high end picks ended up being the best and most important players of the era for the franchise (Barry, Calvin, Suh, Stafford). How many times did they make the playoffs the following season though? Just once (1997, after drafting mostly forgettable cornerback Bryant Westbrook fifth overall).
The last two times the Lions made the playoffs, their record in the previous season was 7-9 both times. Winning leads to more winning (the opposite is even more true), momentum is real, and while 7-9 wouldn’t lead to a game-changing draft pick, it would at least be a sign of progress for the next regime to build on.