While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Detroit Lions.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Detroit was one of the league's worst teams in 2021, vying for the first overall pick for much of the season. They suffered 10 losses and managed one tie in their first 11 games, but finally broke through for a win in Week 13 versus the Vikings. They then won two of their last four matchups, which caused them to miss out on the top pick in the draft but gave them a slightly positive end to a very forgettable season.
The Lions weren't particularly good in any facet of the game in 2021, but their defense was still their biggest weakness. Giving up 27.5 points per game, they finished ahead of only one other team on the year. They battled some injuries on the offensive side of the ball, but will look to continue the attempt to build a winning culture under Dan Campbell as he enters his second season with the team.
Significant Roster Moves
There isn't much to be excited about with the new additions to the roster in Detroit. Maybe D.J. Chark if he excels more consistently with a more proven quarterback than he had in Jacksonville? Or DeShon Elliott, who will immediately start in Detroit's porous secondary? Either way, it's a positive that the list of significant losses is relatively short and doesn't include many guys that the Lions will miss all that much in 2022.
2022 Draft Class
It's clear that Detroit's management understood the immense need to improve on the defensive side of the ball, drafting two D-linemen, two linebackers, and two defensive backs with six of their eight selections in the 2022 draft. The most exciting player is certainly Aidan Hutchinson, who was taken 2nd overall but viewed by many to be the top prospect in the entire draft class. Not only is he a physical force coming off the edge, he also has a nice set of pipes which he put on display by singing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in front of the team during an episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks."
Another exciting player to watch will be Jameson Williams, a receiver taken 12th overall out of Alabama. Like all of the Bama receivers taken in recent drafts, Williams has incredible potential to become a difference maker at the next level, which Jared Goff and Lions fans surely hope will be the case.
The Lions will take on the NFC East and the AFC East to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Carolina Panthers. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .467, Detroit has the 5th easiest schedule in the NFL.
While Detroit has no primetime games in 2022, they will take on Buffalo at home on Thanksgiving Day, as well as travel to Carolina on Saturday, Christmas Eve in Week 16.
The Lions return 14 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is just below average among all teams in the league. The bulk of the offense is returning, and to be honest, the offensive lineup doesn't look too bad in my opinion. The success of the offense will depend on how Jared Goff performs and whether the guys can remain healthy for the duration of the season.
The defense features a few more fresh faces, and given last season's miserable defense, that's probably a good thing. The good news for Lions fans is that I don't think the defense could possibly be worse in 2022 than it was in 2021.
Dan Campbell enters his second season as head coach of the Lions in 2022. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp joined the Lions with Campbell last year and also begin their second season with the team. Ben Johnson will undertake his first season as offensive coordinator after spending three years in various roles with Detroit.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Detroit at 6.5 games. As of right now, the Lions are the 3rd most likely team to win the NFC North and tied for the 11th most likely team to win the whole NFC. At +15000 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 28th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I think the Lions could potentially be on a good trajectory to build a competitive culture in Detroit. The team appears to have rallied around Dan Campbell and it seems as if the future could be bright for his tenure with the Lions. Unfortunately, I think the process will take some time and it's doubtful that we'll see a significant leap forward in 2022.
I'm predicting the Lions to finish 5-12 this upcoming season, which is an incremental improvement from 2021. Their relatively easy schedule should give them the ability to notch a few wins, and it's possible they could upset some of their better opponents here or there. I would still expect the Lions to be competing with the Bears for 3rd place in the NFC North, but I need to see Detroit actually string some wins together over the course of a season before I predict them to finish anywhere other than last in their division.
What do you think? Will Detroit be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Lions surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.