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Monday open thread: Will the Detroit Lions be better on offense or defense in 2020?

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Which side of the ball will have the best season?

NFL: DEC 29 Packers at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I think we can all agree the 2019 season did not go as planned.

The Detroit Lions of last season had some promise, but injuries and poor play doomed the team to a 3-12-1 record. Last year, I thought that the Lions defense would outperform their offense. The Lions had some question marks after transitioning to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and coupled with some solid acquisitions on defense, I thought that unit could impress.

Oops.

The Lions started off decently, but after a heartbreaking loss to the Packers in Week 6, the wheels fell off. The team would only manage a single win the rest of the way. The defense, in particular, struggled, allowing over 400 yards every other week. Throw in an injured Matthew Stafford on offense, and it was a recipe for failure.

Will 2020 be a different story?

The offense remains quite similar to 2019, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The offense prior to Stafford’s injury was a bright spot for the team, and although Bevell had some hiccups, his calling was an upgrade over Jim Bob Cooter. As for players, Rick Wagner gets replaced with Halapoulivaati Vaitai, which could be an upgrade, while T.J. Hockenson enters year two with plenty of expectations. D’Andre Swift will add some versatility to the backfield, and Quintez Cephus and Jason Huntley round out the rookie weapons.

The defense, meanwhile, will look much different this season. Gone is Darius Slay, the longtime star corner, as are Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson along the interior. In comes top pick Jeff Okudah and Desmond Trufant at cornerback, and some former Patriots in Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, and Duron Harmon. The Lions under-performed in 2019, so the roster turnover might not be such a bad thing. Trey Flowers, arguably their best player on defense last season, gets some extra pass rushing support in rookie Julian Okwara. The duo of Shelton and Nick Williams won’t wow anyone on paper, but a healthy Da’Shawn Hand could might make up for a disappointing 2019.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Will the Lions have a better offense or defense in 2020?

My answer: I think the offense will be better, and by a wide margin. This all depends on Matthew Stafford remaining healthy, of course, but one of the lone strengths of the 2019 team was their offense with Stafford. This defense, while I actually think is improved from last season despite the multiple departures, faces a lot of questions. Can Okudah and Trufant make up for Slay’s departure? Can Justin Coleman find consistency? Will the Lions finally have a decent linebacking corps? Can the Lions maintain a pass rush? I just can’t put a lot of faith in the defense, unless Matt Patricia pulls off some miracles.

Last year, 86 percent of voters thought the defense would be better. How about in 2020?

Your turn.

Poll

Will the Lions have a better offense or defense in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Offense
    (589 votes)
  • 8%
    Defense
    (57 votes)
646 votes total Vote Now