Can the Lions be better in 2022? How much better? What does the schedule and odds projection really mean?
After the schedule was released Las Vegas odds makers picked the Lions as favorites in only 4 games. However, the margin for their losses was extremely small. Many attribute the minuscule margins to odds makers not really being to make a clear cut call on who they think will win.
I'd like to push for thinking positive. Not just drinking the Kool Aid but really thinking positively about what the Lions are doing and the personnel that they've assembled. Let's re-examine the schedule one more time:
Game 1 versus Philadelphia, at home - Revenge over last season's pasting has to be on the mind of the head coach and players. Can they show that a year playing together with improved health and valuable new additions can make a difference. I think this game will be tight and likely seesaw throughout most of the game, but in the end, I expect Detroit to prevail and win 27 - 24. The defense won't be perfect but I anticipate Hutchinson making an immediate impact with at least one sack, one tackle for loss, and maybe even a fumble recovery. The offense I think will be much more highly tuned, with St. Brown, Swift, and probably Chark scoring, along with two field goals from Patterson.
Game 2 versus Washington, at home - The Commanders have a much vaunted defense but their offense will depend on yet another new QB. I'm worried might prove to be a real war of wills. I'm still hopeful that the Lions can win though, and perhaps do so on a pair of rushing touchdowns by Swift and another pair by Hockenson. Final score 28-17 is a lot closer than it seems, but the Lion's defense does a great job in the end to cement the victory.
Game 3 versus Minnesota, at Minnesota - The biggest test against a much more proven and capable opponent. Still I'm hopeful that the momentum continues to build in the Lions' favor. Williams may have a break-out game against a secondary that is being rebuilt. Two touchdowns by Williams and a third reception touch down by St. Brown are matched by three rushing touch downs - two by Swift and one by Williams. Final score 45-31.
Game 4 versus Seattle, at home - The Seahawks just aren't the same without Russell Wilson at QB. The Lions take advantage by containing the team's offense and posting a 17-6 win.
Game 5 versus New England, at New England - Do the Lions hate the Patriots as much as most Lions' fans? I think so, and yet this is a big battle of well matched, well coached teams. In the end I think the Lions can overcome their opponent and I look for Williams to be the big hero with two more touch down receptions. Hockenson scores again, as does St. Brown and Swift to pile up 41 points, to win 41-27.
Game 6 versus Dallas, at Dallas - For some reason I think HC Campbell will really want to beat the Texas team. Maybe because he grew up in the state and just wants to show his friends and family what Detroit is all about. Again I expect this to be a hard fought game and likely the score will seesaw back and forth repeatedly. In the end, a narrow victory could be the Lions. Let's hope for a 34-31 victory, making the Lions 6-0!
Game 7 versus Miami, back in Detroit - Miami just doesn't match up in my opinion. Detroit steam rolls 'em! The score gets run up just because the team wants to give the fans more than they bargained for. Final score 52-24.
Game 8 versus Green Bay, at home - About another victory on a hope and a prayer? Perhaps a very tight close knit battle of the defenses would be nice, with maybe a flash by the offense to close it out 24-17.
Game 9 versus Chicago, at Chicago - The Bears are rebuilding and although Justin Fields might be surprisingly good in this game, I think the Lions are even better and rise to the occasion to win 35-28.
Game 10 versus New York (Giants), at New York - I think that the Lions are a better overall team, but I think going 10-0 isn't in the cards so the team suffers its first loss. Despite a comeback attempt the Lions lose 24-21.
Game 11 versus Buffalo, at home - Buffalo is a rare team that has very few faults. I think they charge into Detroit for the Thanksgiving team ready to beat the upstart Lions. The holiday brings out the best though in the Lions and they hang on to win 27-24. The Lions reach 10 victories to just 1 loss.
Game 12 versus Jacksonville, at home - Taking Jacksonville for granted would be easy and a big mistake. I think the Lions have to muster all they have to seal a victory on the final drive. 35-31 final.
Game 13 versus Minnesota, at home - Another tough opponent that is looking to steal a win from the Lions in their home stadium. This should be another big and close battle, but I think the Lions can persevere and win 33-27.
Game 14 versus New York (Jets), at New York - This game could be sneaky hard for the Lions, but I think they won't let one get away. Final 49-35 as Williams scores three TDs, St. Brown two, and Hockenson and Swift add one each.
Game 15 versus Carolina, at Carolina - Two big cat logo teams snarl and tussle. The Lions prove to be the tougher and meaner feline team. Another win is earned with the final reading 27-16. For anyone wanting to know, the Lions record is 14-1, and the NFC best heading into the final two weeks.
Game 16 versus Chicago, at home - Why are division opponents so hard? I think the Bears steal one from us, 23-21.Ouch!
Game 17 versus Green Bay, at Green Bay - If the Lions win, they earn a first round pass in the playoffs, if not they are matched up with none other than the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. This game means something even more since the Los Angeles Rams would steal the first round bye from the Lions if they lose. The victory is hard fought and only decided on a last second score by the Lions. The final score is 38-31. The Lions earn a first round bye!
Los Angeles wins their playoff game against Dallas. They will square off against Philadelphia in round 2, while Detroit hosts Arizona.
Detroit is in a frenzy about the playoffs, and this is a game that pits two aerial arsenals against each other. Detroit has established the second best passing offense in the league, but also has built a strong rushing attack that ranks 7th overall. Not to be out-done, the defense is ranked 9th overall in terms of yards allowed, although just 14th in points allowed.
A victory over the Cardinals sends the Lions into the NFC Championship game against the Rams. A 30-27 gets it done to send the Lions to the big match-up.
The Rams are surprised to see the upstart Lions be their host for the big game before the biggest game. What will happen? How positive can the Lions' fans be?