NFL predictions have come rolling in since the 2018 schedule dropped on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, predictions surrounding the Detroit Lions have sat right around where they finished last year at 9-7. In fact, just about every local beat writer has predicted a third-straight 9-7 season for the Lions.
However, it’s always interesting to see how the national market thinks of the Lions. We got a little hint of that on Saturday, when Las Vegas set Detroit’s win total at 7.5 wins on the season, a bet in which early money is actually on the under.
A user on Reddit took things one step further this weekend. All 32 teams’ beat writers for ESPN did game-by-game predictions this week, and Reddit user “Chasefortheelliott” took those predictions and collected them for each team. In other words, he took the prediction from each team’s opposing beat writer for every week of the season, and turned that into a final record prediction of its own.
The results show that opposing beat writers don’t think all that much of the Lions. Collectively, they gave the Lions just a 5-11 record. We compiled each week’s prediction, and compared them to ESPN’s local Lions beat writer, Michael Rothstein. Take a look.
Week 1 vs. Jets
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (1-0)
- Jets beat writer’s pick: Lions (1-0)
Week 2 at 49ers
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (2-0)
- 49ers beat writer’s pick: 49ers (1-1)
Week 3 vs. Patriots
- Rothstein’s pick: Patriots (2-1)
- Patriots beat writer’s pick: Patriots (1-2)
Week 4 at Cowboys
- Rothstein’s pick: Cowboys (2-2)
- Cowboys beat writer’s pick: Cowboys (1-3)
Week 5 vs. Packers
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (3-2)
- Packers beat writer’s pick: Packers (1-4)
Week 7 at Dolphins
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (4-2)
- Dolphins beat writer’s pick: Dolphins (1-5)
Week 8 vs. Seahawks
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (5-2)
- Seahawks beat writer’s pick: Lions (2-5)
Week 9 at Vikings
- Rothstein’s pick: Vikings (5-3)
- Vikings beat writer’s pick: Vikings (2-6)
Week 10 at Bears
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (6-3)
- Bears beat writer’s pick: Bears (2-7)
Week 11 vs. Panthers
- Rothstein’s pick: Panthers (6-4)
- Panthers beat writer’s pick: Panthers (2-8)
Week 12 vs. Bears
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (7-4)
- Bears beat writer’s pick: Lions (3-8)
Week 13 vs. Rams
- Rothstein’s pick: Rams (7-5)
- Rams beat writer’s pick: Rams (3-9)
Week 14 at Cardinals
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (8-5)
- Cardinals beat writer’s pick: Cardinals (3-10)
Week 15 at Bills
- Rothstein’s pick: Bills (8-6)
- Bills beat writer’s pick: Lions (4-10)
Week 16 vs. Vikings
- Rothstein’s pick: Lions (9-6)
- Vikings beat writer’s pick: Lions (5-10)
Week 17 vs. Packers
- Rothstein’s pick: Packers (9-7)
- Packers beat writer’s pick: Packers (5-11)
Here are a few interesting things to pick up from these predictions. First, both the Vikings and the Bears beat writers think the Lions will split the series with them. The Packers beat writer expects a Green Bay sweep. While Rothstein thinks the Lions will split with everyone but the Bears, who he thinks the Lions will continue to own.
Interestingly, there was only one instance in which Rothstein predicted a Lions loss, while the opposing writer picked a Lions win: Week 15 against the Bills. Rothstein admits he has, “no idea what to make of this Bills team at this point,” but points to the cold weather as a reason for the Lions to drop this game.
It’s not all that surprising to see opposing writers look at the Lions on the schedule and count that as a win for their team. Detroit has had that stigma for awhile now, and until they add some serious signature wins to their resume, that’ll likely continue. Of course, this study by Reddit also proves that local writers are inherently biased toward their own team. One hilarious result of this exercise is that four (FOUR!) teams would end up 0-16 based on the opposing writers’ predictions (Cardinals, Bears, Browns, Colts). So it’s not just the Lions being victimized here.