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Notes: Football Outsiders quantifies Detroit Lions’ drastic defensive improvement

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A mixture of stats and tape suggest this is the kind of defense Matt Patricia is trying to build.

NFL: SEP 22 Lions at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It probably doesn’t feel like it through three weeks, but we’ve already seen massive improvement in the Detroit Lions’ defense in 2019. Though their 20.3 points per game allowed ranks them a respectable 12th in the NFL and is a solid improvement from last year (22.5, t-16th), the real improvement is a little less obvious.

Football Outsiders has a really nice piece mixing their advanced metrics and game film detailing all of the things the Lions are doing much better this year than they did last year.

As we’ve mentioned before, a lot of it start with the revamped secondary.

“Last year, the Lions finished 32nd in DVOA against No. 1 wideouts, 27th against No. 2 wideouts, and 32nd against other wideouts This year, through Week 2, their rankings are at seventh, 12th, and third -- and all three are negative (which means good defense),” Football Outsiders’ Rivers McCown wrote.

The piece also touches on how the Lions’ conservative nature almost got them in trouble against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. According to their model, Matt Patricia’s decision to punt and kick a field goal on two fourth-quarter possessions, cost the Lions a 4.7% and 4.9% chance to win the game.

  • The Sights and Sounds weekly video series from the Lions is always a must-see for those that love on-field audio and mic’d up players:

  • Want more evidence that the deep ball is back in Detroit under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell? Well, here you go:

  • Despite his 100-yard kick return touchdown, Jamal Agnew did not win NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Those honors went to Saints punter Thomas Morstead, who I guess had a fine day: