Five bold predictions for the Detroit Lions 2018 season

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: General view of Ford Field before the game between Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: General view of Ford Field before the game between Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

With training camp starting in less than a week for the Detroit Lions, this seems like a good time to throw out some bold predictions for the Lions this season.

Expectations are the Detroit Lions will make major leaps in all aspects of the game this year. The commitment to fixing the running game to the hiring of defensive-minded Matt Patricia as head coach.

All of these change should take the Lions to the next level. Here my five bold predictions for the Lions this season.

1. The Detroit Lions will finish in the top half of the league in rushing

General Manager Bob Quinn has thrown a lot of resources at the running game this year. From drafting Frank Ragnow and Kerryon Johnson, signing LeGarrette Blount, and hiring Jeff Davidson as the offensive line coach. If everything goes according to plan, the Lions will have a strong rushing attack. With the help of the elite passing game, defenses will have to respect both areas and open up the rushing game. The Lions finished with an abysmal 76.3 yards a game on the ground which ranked dead last in the league last year. The New England Patriots finished with 113.1 yards per game ranking them 15th in the league last year.  So I don’t think it’s out of the question the Lions could finish in the top half of the league in rushing this year.

2. The Detroit Lions defense will hold opponents under 20 point per game

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The biggest key to this one is the hiring of Matt Patricia as head coach. The way Patricia finds ways to put players in a successful situation is second to none. The Lions have not only one of the best secondaries in the league, but the deepest as well. From top to bottom they have the depth and playmakers like Darius Slay and Glover Quin. With Patricia’s trend of taking linebackers and elevating their game, the linebackers will have a breakout year.

There have been plenty of questions about the defensive line, but Patrica has a plan. The interior defensive lineman will control the line of scrimmage and allow the linebackers to attack the gaps. With a healthy Ziggy Ansah and Kerry Hyder, versatile Devon Kennard,  and breakout player Anthony Zettel the pass rush won’t be a problem. The Lions held opponents to 23.5 points per game last year; where the Patriots held opponents to 19.5 points per game under Patricia.

3. Jarrad Davis will finish Top 5 in total tackles

Davis’ first year started out bumpy, but he finished the year strong and will continue that upward trend. With the scheme changes for the Lions’ defense, it’ll fit Davis’ style of play and he will flourish. With the defensive line controlling the gaps, Davis can do what he does best and that’s diagnosing the plays and attacking the ball. Patricia will know how to get the best out of Davis with his linebacker pedigree.

IDP Fantasy Empire have Davis getting 80-85 solo tackles, 35 assists, 7-9 tackles for loss, and 4-5 sacks; translating into between 126-134 total tackles. Those numbers would put him in the Top 10 last year for total tackles. With the scheme changes, year of experience, and Patricia’s coaching; he can eclipse those projections and rank Top 5 in total tackles.

4. Kenny Golladay will finish Top 5 in receiving touchdowns

Golladay emerged as a receiving threat last year for the Lions, but injuries slowed him down. During OTAs and minicamp, he was making catches with ease in the red zone against the first team defense. Defenses will be focused on Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, that will create favorable matchups for Golladay. With his big body and solid hands, he will have no problem hauling in touchdowns at a good rate.

With the loss of Eric Ebron, some of those targets will have to go somewhere and I think they will go in Golladay’s direction; in turn becoming Stafford’s go to red zone target. Some projections have him getting 7 touchdowns this year, which would’ve ranked him in the Top 20 last year. I think he will get double-digit touchdowns ranking him the Top 5 for receiving touchdowns this year.

5. The Detroit Lions will win a playoff game this year

The offense looks like it going to be elite and tops in the league this year. The Lions have one of the best receiving corps in the league; made significant strides in improving the run game, and Matthew Stafford finally has a line to stand behind and pick apart defenses. I expect Coach Patricia to take this talented defense to the next level. Patricia will find a way to use everyone’s abilities and put them in a position to shine.

The Lions are not far off. They finished the last two years with a winning record. There has been continuity on the roster. The coaching and front office has made this team very competitive on paper. The team has an elite offense, a well-rounded defense, and smart front office and coaching staff. The Lions will win their first playoff game in 26 years.

Next: Jeff Davidson; Detroit Lions’ secret weapon

These predictions are bold, but I think they are also realistic. This franchise is being run more efficiently and taking the right steps in making this team competitive for years to come. Can’t wait to see how this season plays out.