Another metric, this time from Football Outsiders, shows how much the Detroit Lions were impacted by injuries last season.
The Detroit Lions were not expected to be any good in 2021, so a 3-13-1 finish was par for the course and not that earth-shattering. But they also lost the most games in the league to injury by starters last season (134), as a thin and generally inexperienced roster was further thinned and a bit less experienced throughout.
Football Outsiders deals in advanced football analytics. They have released their “Adjusted Games Lost” for the 2021 NFL season, as in games each team had impacted by injuries last season. It takes into account games players missed, but it also accounts for injury reports and games where players played at less than 100 percent. A weighted formula for starters, backups, situational players, etc. then arrives at a single number.
Detroit Lions had third-most Adjusted Games Lost in 2021
As expected, six of the 10 healthiest teams in terms of Adjusted Games Lost made the playoffs last year. And on the other end, just two of the 10 most injury-riddled teams made the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens had by far the most Adjusted Games Lost last season, with 191.2. The New York Jets had the second-most (158.5), then the Lions came in with the third-most (122.4). It’s worth noting that more than a quarter of the league, nine teams, had at least 100 Adjusted Games Lost.
Naming a key player for the Lions who didn’t miss at least one game last season is a hard task (Amon-Ra St. Brown), and in many cases it was several missed games. It’s something I’ve noted a few times, but they never had their projected five starting offensive lineman together for a game in 2021. Left tackle Taylor Decker missed the first part of the season with a hand injury, and by the time he was back center Frank Ragnow was out for the season due to turf toe.
Adjusted Games Lost was also split between offense and defense for each team. The Lions were equally impacted on both sides of the ball, with 61.6 AGL on offense and 60.8 AGL on defense. Only one team, the Bengals, had a narrower gap between the two and they had the seventh-fewest AGL overall.
The Lions should be due for some better injury luck next season. Based on that alone, doubling their win total from last year would be in the cards.