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Thursday open thread: What is the Detroit Lions’ ceiling in 2021?

Let’s spread a little hopium today.

Detroit Lions Off-Season Workout Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Expectations are fairly low for the Detroit Lions in 2021. Many Vegas outlets believe they are the most likely team to have the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even locally, fans are preparing themselves for a mediocre-to-bad season ahead. In April, we polled fans to see what they think Detroit’s record will be, and 65 percent of them believed Detroit would finish with six wins or fewer.

But let’s take a moment and chug some Kool Aid. I’m not asking you to suddenly believe this team is playoff bound and will contend for the NFC North. But let’s just say all the “what ifs” land in Detroit’s favor. If Jared Goff plays well, if Aaron Glenn gets the young secondary in order, if the Lions stay healthy, and if the Lions running game lives up to its potential, how good could this team be right away?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

What is the ceiling of the 2021 Detroit Lions?

My answer: If we’re working within realistic goals, I think this team could reach nine wins. The schedule is tough, the roster is thin, and this is the first year within a new scheme. All those things will hold Detroit back from making a true playoff push.

But as I mentioned before, there are some realistic expectations for this team that, if everything falls their way, could push this team to contend just about every week. If the Lions rushing attack comes out of the gate firing, it’ll take the burden of Jared Goff and his mediocre set of receivers. There’s an honest route to a successful offense that way that doesn’t require unrealistic expectations from Goff and company.

Defensively, I think we’re all expecting a noticeable improvement from last year, but the question is how much improvement can we realistically expect? Jeff Okudah is at the forefront of that conversation, and while I am expecting him to compete a lot more this year, I don’t think it’s very realistic to expect him to perform at an All-Pro level in 2021. The defensive front should be better, but I’m not suddenly expecting this to be a top pass-rushing team—especially since they’ll be relying on a pair of rookies there. The linebacking corps… remains a pretty huge weakness, and I’m not about to believe that fourth-round rookie Derrick Barnes will change their fortune in Year 1.

Ultimately, I believe the ceiling of the offense is to be an above average, but not great unit. Defensively, they could be an average unit if the coaching staff realizes their full potential, and the roster stays healthy.

Put that all together, and we’re talking about a team that hovers around .500. So I’ll nudge them just above .500 and say 9-8 is this team’s ceiling in 2021.

Your turn.


What is the Lions’ ceiling for the 2021 season?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    5 or fewer wins
    (117 votes)
  • 49%
    6-8 wins
    (412 votes)
  • 29%
    9-11 wins
    (246 votes)
  • 6%
    12+ wins
    (52 votes)
827 votes total Vote Now

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