Judging by win-loss record, the Lions were just (tied as) the 20th best team in the NFL a season ago. And while that was good enough to begin to excite fans of the downtrodden franchise, it’s still a ways away from a playoff berth.
But by taking a look at some other rankings and statistics, it appears that the the Lions played a little bit better than the raw W-L percentage suggests.
|Simple Rating System||1.9||13|
|Offensive Simple Rtg.||2.4||9|
|Defensive Simple Rtg.||-0.5||18|
*All statistics from pro-football-reference.com
In all but one of the metrics listed above, the Lions “beat” their W-L ranking (of 20). And in the case of total defense, they were only one spot behind (the team with the 21st best record was also tied at 6-10). These rankings would seem to be more indicative of a team that went 8-8 or 7-9.
In fact, averaging the eight rankings in the list yields an average placement of 16th. That’s right in the middle of the pack. Of course, averaging these rankings would be an incredibly crude way of doing things, but it actually does jive well with the Lions’ expected W-L record of 7.8-8.2.
Obviously you actually have to win the games to get credit for it, but if the Lions were “really” a game or two better than their actual record indicated last year, then they they won’t have to play a whole lot better for their final record to look much better.
If the Lions can even be a the slightest bit improved in 2011, we could easily see three or four wins added to their total.