The last successful season for the Lions was 2014 which seems so long ago and so fleeting of a moment in time given what transpired with the Quinn-ticia Era. I thought I'd like to compare how that team was built to see if the 2022 team has any similarities or key differences. Hope you find this review interesting.
QB 2014: Stafford, 2022: Goff - Obviously we are all still enamored with Stafford, but Goff should have a much better receiver corp and deserves a chance to show all that he is capable of. Goff obviously has led a team to the Super Bowl too, so just maybe he still has the skill, smarts, and desire to do it again.
RB 2014: Bush, Riddick, and Bell were the primary backs. 2022: Swift, Williams, and Reynolds probably are our primary three but we also have Igwebuike and Jefferson competing as well. There are similarities to be sure. Bush was an established 1000 yard carrier but was limited to just 297 yards on 76 carries in 2014. Swift has the potential to be all that Bush was and perhaps more. Riddick emerged as a terrific third-down option while Williams offers a bit more running capability while also be a receiving threat.
WR 2014: Johnson, Ross, and Tate. 2022: Williams, Chark, and St. Brown. Williams might mirror Johnson relative to his 2014 production. St Brown matches or exceeds Tate. Chark vs Ross doesn't seem too exciting to debate. All and all, this unit has a lot in common, with the hope that the 2022 unit's youth has even a higher ceiling.
TE 2014: Ebron and Pettigrew formed a pretty good pair. 2022: Hockenson is still looking for the really big production year, but is widely considered a top 4 to 7 player at his position in the league. Several back-ups will compete for the second TE role which gives the 2022 team some added promise.
OT 2014: Reiff and Waddle were considered decent players. Lucas and Hilliard were good back-ups as well. 2022: Decker and Sewell would likely both be considered superior players to the 2014 tandem. Nelson, Eze, and or Skipper have yet to prove that they would out play Lucas and Hilliard.
OG 2014: Warford and Sims were also both considered very good lineman. It seemed little immediate back-up help was needed or available. 2022: Jackson and Vaitai might be considered as good as the 2014 pairing. Kraemer, Jarvis, and Stenberg have yet to fully prove how much they can contribute, but they do represent immediate back-up help if needed, which 2014 didn't seem to have.
OC 2014: Raiola and Swanson formed a good solid pair to depend on. 2022: Ragnow has proven to be a top 3 center in the league, and hopefully will stay healthy. Brown is also a proven back-up that makes the comparison seem to slightly favor the 2022 team.
DE 2014: Ansah, Taylor, and Johnson provided good defensive pressure and stability. 2022: Hutchinson, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara, Charles Harris, Josh Paschal, Austin Bryant, and perhaps James Houston are hopefully every bit the equivalent, but they still got to do it, as they say.
DT 2014: Suh Fairley, Reid, Fleullen, and others were a great unit. Suh was named first team All Pro. 2022: McNeill, Onwuzurike, Brockers, Penisini, and perhaps Paschal and others have yet to prove they can be as dominant as the 2014 unit. This will likely be the biggest challenge or element of difference between the two teams, if the tackles can't stop the run.
LB 2014: Levy, Tulloch, and Whitehead were backed up by Bynes, Van Noy, and Palmer. This was a very solid unit. 2022: Again, the unit will have to prove they can be the equal of their predecessors. Barnes, Anzalone, Rodriguez, Woods, Pittman, Davis, Boarder, Hamilton, and Beckett will have to rise to the occasion.
CB 2014: Mathis and Slay were both very very good. Bentley and Carey were key and proven back-ups. 2022: Oruwariye seems likely to be the key cover man. Parker, Jacobs, Melifonwu, Okudah, Hughes, Lucas, and others should provide the rest of the unit's primary manning. Whether they can fully measure up probably will likely in part be determined by how well the other units perform.
S 2014: Quin, Ihedigbo, Lawson, and Abdul-Quddus were the primary players. Quin was exceptional. Ihedigbo, Lawson and Quddus all seemed to show flashes of brilliance. 2022: Walker and Elliott form a new tandem. Joseph and Will Harris provide support. Breeze, Moore, and Price are likely more special teams' specialists.
Special Teams: 2014: Prater, Martin, Muhlbach, and Ross were the featured players. All were solid. Ross averaged 25 yards on kick-off returns to be a consistent return specialist. 2022: Patterson, Fox, Daly, and Raymond are the likely specialists and have established themselves as good, if not very good players in their roles. I can't really fully recall whether the overall special teams play was that much of a difference maker in 2014.
Offensive Ranking: 2014: 22nd, 2022: could be about the same or better.
Defensive Ranking: 2014: 3rd in points allowed. 2022: this is where the big challenge is. Can the D become a dominant element of the team's play?
Highlight reels: 2014: Stafford to Megatron; Stafford dumping to Tate; Suh dominating the middle; Levy and Tulloch making a difference; and, Quin being a Pro Bowl safety with 7 interceptions. 2022: Goff to Williams; Goff to St Brown; Goff to Swift; Goff to Hockenson; Goff to Chark; OL creating a better running game - game in and game out; the DL pressuring the QB and stopping the run; the secondary molding into a young multi-faceted unit; and, the LB corp developing into a force.
Summary: 2014 11 wins, 5 losses. 2022 ? If all goes well 12 wins, 5 losses.