Ranking Detroit Lions among teams without Super Bowl wins

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Is that fair?

Perhaps this question is the wrong question because fairness is largely subjective but let’s investigate past the odds and see how we might score these odds. If we were in Houston, we’d definitely think that the Texans 10-6 record last year was being disrespected, as they are the only winning team in the bottom half of the odds. The Tennessee Titans, with their 9-7 record are fifteenth, just in the top half.

The five-win Arizona Cardinals are favored above the Detroit Lions by five slots and they needed to overcome a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to tie the Lions last year. At 55 to 1 odds, that makes them almost twice as likely to win it all, if you can believe that. Of the not-elite-12 only four had winning seasons in 2019, two we mentioned above, plus the Vikings and Bills both with 10-6 records.

Of the teams ranked in the bottom twelve in the league by odds to win the Super Bowl, the Detroit Lions are one of only a few teams returning a former Pro Bowl quarterback, the Las Vegas Raiders and Texans are the others. Arguably, quarterback Matthew Stafford was headed for one of his couple best seasons in 2019 before back injuries sidelined him for the second half of the year.

His 2,499 yards through eight games were just off of his pace during his 5,038-yard, 2011 season for which he received no Pro-Bowl or All-Pro consideration, even with 41 touchdowns. Stafford was close to that number in 2019, as well, throwing 19 passes that went for scores in the half-season. Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens multi-talented quarterback, accounted for 4,333 total yards (1,206 yards rushing) and 43 touchdowns in his consensus All-Pro 2019 campaign, that’s how biased people are against Detroit.

Stafford actually has two of the top 13 best passing seasons ever, neither of which earned him any honors, list on Pro Football Reference’s website. Patrick Mahomes has been a Pro-Bowl player both of the last two years, despite having a very average-Stafford year with 4,031 yards passing and 26 touchdowns in 2019. Regardless, Stafford was on his way to a season that would have ranked near the top in the history of the sport.

Fun fact: Stafford has had three individual seasons better than any from a certain belt-toting, insurance salesman and cheese-headed division rival.

The defense has changed some personnel, drafted some new faces like first-round cover man Jeff Okudah, and gotten a new coordinator, Cory Undlin, who has to figure out his team and get them playing well early for the Detroit Lions to be contenders. The offense has retooled a portion of the offensive line, drafted another set of powerful legs in rookie runner, D’Andre Swift, and brought back the rest of their weapons.

By the way, isn’t “Swift” the best running back name ever?

Offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, did a great job of putting the Lions in successful situations that took advantage of their strengths and we look for that to continue into 2020, especially with continuity in the system, good players, and added talent for the run game.

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The oddsmakers are not high on the Detroit Lions chances to get to a Super Bowl and end their absenteeism from the event. With average play from the defense, though, it would be hard to imagine the Lions not being in contention for the NFC North title and looking for a playoff berth. We’re not saying that you should risk your money given the futility during the Super Bowl era but at this point, the Lions look like a team set to outperform the odds.