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Notes: Detroit Lions predicted to have NFL’s worst record in 2021

It’s early, but now there are two oddsmakers saying so.

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Detroit Lions’ Johnnie Morton (L), Larry Foster (C Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

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:

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:

  • Well, this is kind of interesting:

  • 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:

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):

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