I’m going to start by acknowledging how obscene this question is. It is way too early and way too pointless for me to be asking such a thing, but alas, the Kool Aid always flows. Things are changing rapidly in the Motor City.
Question of the day: Can the Lions compete in 2021?
It all depends on how you define compete. Compete for a Super Bowl? You’re out of your mind. Compete for the playoffs? It still depends on how you define compete—if a 3-6 record is still 2 games out of a wild card spot, then technically the Lions are “competing” for a playoff spot well into November.
In short, however, my answer is a hard no. If Matthew Stafford stayed put, this team could easily make seven or eight wins out of thin air, no matter how talentless the defense or receiving corps are. With Stafford gone, it’s not happening.
A rookie quarterback without receivers or a defense is going to be brutal, and Stafford’s departure genuinely turns 2021 from a realistic six or seven wins to a realistic three or four wins. It’s gonna get ugly. Expecting competitive games on Sundays in 2021 is just not realistic as things stand right now.