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Mad Stats Week 4: Projecting the 2017 Detroit Lions season

Our previous model was not realistic, so we’re taking a first-quarter stab at it!

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The last time we ran Mad Stats, we used a flawed method of multiplying player stats from the first two weeks by eight. It was an improvement over the first attempt, where we just took game one and multiplied by 16. After some reflection, these methods were clearly not realistic. No, it is much more likely to produce realistic results by waiting until week four has completed and just multiply those stats by four! There’s no way we could be wrong this time!


Matthew Stafford

552 Attempts

352 Completions

63.8% Completions

3,548 Yards

28 Touchdowns

4 Interceptions

40 Rushing Attempts

212 Rushing Yards

The Lions signal caller is throwing more passes less efficiently than our last projection, and for less touchdowns. He’s still quite efficient, however, and while 28 touchdowns is good-not-great, tossing only four interceptions is fantastic


Ameer Abdullah

264 Attempts for 1,028 Yards and 4 TDs at 3.9 YPC

36 Receptions for 260 Yards at 7.2 Y/R

Dwayne Washington

36 Attempts for 124 Yards and 0 TDs at 3.4 YPC

No Receptions

Theo Riddick

56 Attempts for 92 Yards at 1.6 YPC

56 Receptions for 360 Yards and 4 TDs at 6.4 Y/R

Could it be? Could the Lions have a 1,000 yard rusher? If Abdullah continues to play as he has been, it’s possible. What’s even more promising is that his present usage shows that Jim Bob Cooter has, at least somewhat, moved away from his head coaches normal running back philosophy. It’s also worth noting that Abdullah had his best days against the Giants and Vikings defensive fronts, which isn’t exactly a cupcake assignment. After him, there’s not much going on from the rushers.


Golden Tate

96 Receptions for 876 Yards and 4 TDs at 9.1 Y/R

12 Attempts for 36 Yards and 0 TDs at 3 YPC

Marvin Jones Jr.

32 Receptions for 520 Yards and 8 TDs at 16.3 Y/R

TJ Jones

32 Receptions for 512 Yards and 0 TDs at 16 Y/R

Kenny Golladay

28 Receptions for 408 Yards and 8 TDs at 14.6 Y/R

Eric Ebron

44 Receptions for 348 Yards and 4 TDs at 7.9 Y/R

Darren Fells

24 Receptions for 204 Yards and 0 TDs at 8.5 Y/R

The wide receivers all see a dip in their production aside from TJ Jones who has found his usage increase as time goes on and Kenny Golladay misses more time. At present trends, Golden Tate would continue his 90+ receptions streak, but the team would have no 1,000 yard receiver.

The Defense


Jarrad Davis

60 Tackles, 4 Fumble Recoveries, 4.0 Sacks

Tahir Whitehead

100 Tackles, 4 Interceptions, 4 Pass Deflections

The Lions still aren’t getting much mileage out of their linebackers who aren’t named Jarrad Davis or Tahir Whitehead, but the top two guys are doing plenty to keep the defense chugging.

Defensive Line

Ezekiel Ansah

40 Tackles, 12.0 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles

Anthony Zettel

44 Tackles, 16.0 Sacks

Haloti Ngata

20 Tackles, 4.0 Sacks, 4 Pass Deflections

A’Shawn Robinson

40 Tackles, 4 Forced Fumbles, 4 Pass Deflections

Akeem Spence

12 Tackles

Jeremiah Ledbetter

20 Tackles

Jeremiah Valoaga

4.0 Sacks, 12 Tackles

Cornelius Washington

12 Tackles

Just like we all predicted, UDFA rookie Jeremiah Valoaga would be the highest producing non-starter on the defensive line and sixth-round rookie Jeremiah Ledbetter would lead everyone else after that. The big surprise here is Kris Kocurek’s 2017 superstar Anthony Zettel, who ends up leading the team with sacks at 16.0, with Ziggy only a hair behind with 12.0.

Defensive Backs


Darius Slay

60 Tackles, 28 Pass Deflections, 8 Interceptions, 0 TDs allowed

Nevin Lawson

36 Tackles, 12 Pass Deflections

DJ Hayden

40 Tackles, 4 Pass Deflections

Quandre Diggs

36 Tackles, 16 Pass Deflections

Darius Slay has allowed no touchdowns this season, so let’s just assume that continues, along with his 8 interception pace. Despite being a more stable prediction model, his pass deflections actually went up, and these are All-Pro numbers for the Lions defensive star.


Glover Quin

92 Tackles, 12 Pass Deflections, 8 Interceptions, 8 Forced Fumbles

Tavon Wilson

40 Tackles, 4 Pass Deflections, 4 Interceptions

Miles Killebrew

68 Tackles, 20 Pass Deflections, 4 Interceptions for 4 TDs

Still on an All-Pro, Defensive Player of the Year pace, Glover Quin is the best safety in the NFL through four weeks. Since we’re pushing that projection out over the course of the season, our assumption remains that he stays that good and finishes the year as a universally recognized beast of a free safety.

A big and important note here is the emergence of Miles Killebrew. The pick-six numbers are probably still outlandish, but the rest? He’s a full-time starter now and playing out of his mind. This may be the best safety tandem in the NFL by the end of this season, and we could be talking Pro Bowl for the young safety sooner rather than later.


Through Week 4, do these numbers look any more realistic projected out? Who do you think will come close to these exaggerated projections and who do you think will fall far short? Let us know in the comments, or give us a stats prediction of your own.