Weeeee, more predictions and projections to kick off the start of training camp Thursday!
Pro Football Focus released numbers from their simulation that offers baseline projections in wins, division odds, playoff odds, Super Bowl odds and strength of schedule for the NFC North. While the market favors the Bears to win the division, they project a much closer race.
“Our simulation is built to account for the craziness of the NFL season where players’ abilities are not static throughout and situations where the biggest underdog wins the most games, while improbable, is not impossible and likely due to a performance well above expectation,” they write.
Speaking of underdog—the Lions come in dead last in all of the odds categories. But, notably, they rank with the second hardest schedule among division opponents. It’s a schedule that includes the 12-4 Chargers and 12-4 Chiefs (led by reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes) within the first few weeks, along with two trips to the West Coast in the first half of the season. They’re looking at an early bye in Week 5, and won’t match up with a division rival until mid-October.
Recently, John Breech of CBS Sports broke down NFC North schedules (however, ranking the Lions as the least tough of the division) and had this to say about the Lions:
“The Lions season could get off to a nightmarish start in 2019 and that’s because their roughest stretch starts in Week 2. Although the Lions will open the year with a very winnable Week 1 game in Arizona, they’ll basically be facing a gauntlet of death for the next five weeks after that. Following the Cards game, the Lions schedule goes like this: Chargers (Week 2), at Eagles (Week 3), Chiefs (Week 4), BYE (Week 5), at Packers (Week 6), Vikings (Week 7):
Anyway, back to the odds. To break it down:
1. Vikings: 8.42 (9, -120 over/+100 under)
2. Bears: 8.35 (9.5, +125/-145)
3. Packers: 8.03 (9.5, +130/-150)
4. Lions: DET 7.13 (7, -120/+100)
1. Vikings: 31.3 (+225)
2. Bears: 30.6 (+175)
3. Packers: 24.6 (+200)
4. Lions: 13.5 (+1000)
1. Vikings: 43.5 (+130 yes, -160 no)
2. Bears: 42.8 (-140/+110)
3. Packers: 36.3 (-125/-105)
4. Lions: 22.1 (+400/-600)
Super Bowl Odds
1. Vikings: 3.2 (+2500)
2. Bears: 2.7 (+1400)
3. Packers: 2.1 (+1600)
4. Lions: 0.6 (+6600)
Strength of Schedule:
1. Bears: 5th
2. Lions: 13th
3. Vikings: 14th
4. Packers: 18th
I end these types of stories the same way every time: Guess we’ll see.
And onto your notes.
- You likely already saw this, but just to make sure: Justin Rogers of The Detroit News confirms Darius Slay and Snacks Harrison reported for training.
- Running backs coach Kyle Caskey says he won’t do anything to artificially limit Kerryon Johnson’s touches, per Dave Birkett.
- Single-game tickets are now on sale:
- Just a day ahead of the start of training camp, here are the top five players who could surprise you from Tim Twentyman and eight players to watch from clickondetroit.com.
- Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire argues that coming off his rookie season, Tracy Walker is poised to be the next big thing—though stepping into Glover Quin’s shoes is not easy.
- Early 53-man roster projection from ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, featuring an interesting look at safety.
- In case you missed it, the team announced the Detroit Lions Family Fest presented by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers is on Friday, August 2. Free and open to the public, the event features a Lions scrimmage, appearances from Lions Legends, Detroit Lions Cheerleaders and of course, Roary.