It is no surprise to Detroit Lions fans that the team is not expected to do very well this season. Between a complete overhaul of the front office and coaching staff plus a major change at quarterback, no credible observer would suggest they are contending for a title. However, the question remains as to how bad the team will be relative to the rest of the league. As posted by ESPN’s Field Yates, there is another oddsmaker out there who has an early take on that subject:
Williams Hill has released its projected win totals for the 2021 NFL season.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 16, 2021
1. Chiefs: 12
2. Bucs: 11.5
T-3. Packers/Ravens: 11
T-5. Bills/Rams: 10.5
T-1. Lions/Texans: 5
T-3. Jets/Jaguars: 6
5. Bengals: 6.5 pic.twitter.com/8OT1YGoz1d
The United States operations of William Hill Sports Betting posted total regular season win over/under betting lines for all 32 NFL teams, and only the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans are set at five wins. This is the same paltry victory count assigned to the Lions by the DraftKings sportsbook.
To put this in perspective, the Texans have also likely lost their starting quarterback (for reasons we shall not venture into here) and also overhauled their entire front office and coaching staff, but the manner in which these things have happened seem awfully different. For one, even our SB Nation sister site Battle Red Blog has no idea who the starting quarterback will be for the Texans while the Lions are clearly set on giving Jared Goff the chance to take command right away. The lack of team direction at quarterback has turned into something of a circus there, so it is tough to say the Lions are in as bad shape in this department.
Then there is the regime changeover aspect. While at first the fans wondered how well Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell would acclimate to their new positions, they have done pretty darn well in their first few months. Meanwhile over in Houston, the job new general manager Nick Caserio has done has been almost okay given what he had to work with, but mostly the praise seems to be “he’s not Bill O’Brien.”
Now, I’m not going to argue the current Lions roster is some magnificent phoenix reborn from the ashes of a bonfire made from Matt Patricia’s pencil overstock, but do we really believe the Lions are in the same competitive state as the Texans right now? Perhaps those paying attention to the Lions don’t know any better, but for the most part it seems everyone else out there is simply assuming it’s the same old mess in Detroit. Come on guys, it’s bad but it’s not that bad. Right?
Anyhoo, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski believes the Lions wide receivers are so bad as a unit right now that their top two out of three draft needs are both wide receiver.
- Well, this is kind of interesting:
Most Pass Attempts Targeting the Slot since 2018:— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) April 14, 2021
1. Jared Goff - 534
2. Patrick Mahomes - 531
3. Tom Brady - 518
4. Deshaun Watson - 509
Whoever does line up in the slot for the #Lions can expect plenty of work with Goff under center#OnePride https://t.co/Zutld25DBg
- Mike O’Hara at the official team site wrote about five quarterbacks who might interest the Lions in the draft. He excluded Trevor Lawrence, but you already know who four of the five are. The last one in the article is a different late-round option we’ve not seen discussed much.
- NFL Data & Analytics’ Michael Lopez posted what he called team level draft curves as plots of career average value (vertical y-axis) against pick position (horizontal x-axis). He took requests for individual teams to be highlighted on separate plots, and here is what you get for the Detroit Lions:
About as close to league average as you can get pic.twitter.com/MUpfeeRgxV— Michael Lopez (@StatsbyLopez) April 16, 2021
The way you read that is “above the line = good, below the line = bad.” The dashed line is the team’s overall trend performance across all picks they made. When Lopez says they are about league average, it’s because the dashed line (the trend from only Lions picks) is sitting almost right on top of the solid black line (the trend from all picks from all teams). As an aside, this makes me extra sad the Lions failed to retain either Larry Warford or Graham Glasgow.
- Side note about the Raiders parting ways with their former fifth-round pick out of Michigan, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (he’s pretty good):
For those wondering, waiver priority is currently the same as the original draft order (prior to trades).— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) April 15, 2021
So if the #Lions want either of these players (Hurst, please), they'll have to hope the 6 teams above them don't put in a claim. https://t.co/0QZPIel5qM
- A fascinating read by Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger from a few days ago talks about how many snaps new players at each position could realistically be expected to contribute in their rookie season. This is in the context of suggesting later round picks should be geared toward addressing expected future needs rather than immediate holes in the lineup. A cool corollary is the usual “draft a guard in the third” thing we throw around all the time (see: Larry Warford and Graham Glasgow):