Detroit Lions Betting Preview 2021
The Detroit Lions will be a new-look team in 2021. After 12 seasons with Matthew Stafford under center, Detroit traded theiritsquarterback to the Los Angeles Rams for five-year vet Jared Goff. The Matt Patricia era is over and new head coach Dan Campbell is ready to sink his teeth into the Lions’ systems.
Detroit drafted offensive lineman Penei Sewell at No. 7 overall and may have found its starting left tackle for the next decade. It will be a rebuilding year for the Lions, but they’re already putting the right pieces into place.
Detroit Lions 2020 Schedule
The Lions have the sixth-toughest schedule in 2021 but, surprisingly, they have the easiest schedule in the NFC North based on their opponents’ 2020 records. Chicago checks in with the third-hardest schedule, followed by Green Bay in fourth and Minnesota in fifth.
|Week 1||Sept. 12||San Francisco 49ers|
|Week 2||Sept. 20||Green Bay Packers|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||Baltimore Ravens|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||Chicago Bears|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||Minnesota Vikings|
|Week 6||Oct. 17||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Week 7||Oct. 24||Los Angeles Rams|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Week 9||Bye Week|
|Week 10||Nov. 14||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Week 11||Nov. 21||Cleveland Browns|
|Week 12||Nov. 25||Chicago Bears|
|Week 13||Dec. 5||Minnesota Vikings|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||Denver Broncos|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||Arizona Cardinals|
|Week 16||Dec. 26||Atlanta Falcons|
|Week 17||Jan. 2||Seattle Seahawks|
|Week 18||Jan. 9||Green Bay Packers|
As a reminder, the NFL regular season has been expanded to 17 games. Beyond those showdowns with division rivals, the Lions will face several quality opponents, including opening the regular season at home against the San Francisco 49ers and heading to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in Week 17.
Detroit Lions News & Picks
Detroit Lions 2020 Summary
Detroit finished fourth in the NFC North, ending the year with a 5-11 record and winning just once in its final seven games. The lone division win was a 34-30 victory over the Chicago Bears on Dec. 6. In that game, the Lions were down 30-20 late in the fourth quarter. With 2:18 to go in the game, Stafford found Marvin Jones Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown to cut the lead to three. After the Lions strip-sacked Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Detroit recovered at the 7-yard line. Adrian Peterson provided the go-ahead score and the Lions defense held for a fourth-down stop to ice the win.
Detroit Lions Key Players
Jared Goff took the Rams to the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, but he has since fallen on tougher times as a quarterback. With a chip on his shoulder, he’ll be plenty motivated if he can stay healthy and limit turnovers.
Frank Ragnow is arguably the most important offensive player after Goff. A fourth-year center from the University of Arkansas, Ragnow is a tank on the offensive line. Developing chemistry with Goff and setting protection and blocking schemes for the line, Ragnow’s success or failure will directly correspond with the team’s winning or losing ways.
An overlooked aspect of the Lions defense, linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. was on track for a career high in tackles in his first season with Detroit last year. Collins led the Lions in combined tackles with 101 and finished second in solo tackles with 55. However, he finished with just one sack. Detroit will need Collins’ pash-rushing abilities to make more of an impact this year.
Detroit Lions New Additions
- Dan Campbell, Head Coach
- Jared Goff, QB
- Penei Sewell, OT (rookie)
- Tyrell Williams, WR
- Breshad Perriman, WR
- Randy Bullock, K
- Michael Brockers, DT
Detroit Lions Key Subtractions
- Matthew Stafford, QB (traded to Los Angeles Rams)
- Marvin Jones Jr., WR (signed with Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Matt Prater, K (signed with Arizona Cardinals)
- Kenny Golladay (signed with New York Giants)
- Oday Aboushi, G (signed with Los Angeles Chargers)
- Mohamed Sanu, WR (signed with San Francisco 49ers)
- Desmond Trufant, CB (signed with Chicago Bears)
The Lions are likely to finish at the bottom of the NFC North once again due to their tough schedule and defensive weaknesses. As of publication, the Lions have the worst NFL odds to win the NFC North at +2200. Green Bay is still the favorite at -175. The Vikings are +250, and Chicago is +425.
Detroit Lions Offense
While things will inherently look different with Goff under center, the Lions will still be searching for an offensive identity this season. Running back, D’Andre Swift will look to build on a successful rookie season in which he scored eight touchdowns. The Lions also drafted Jermar Jefferson out of Oregon State to serve in a backup role in case Peterson does not re-sign.
Through the air, Detroit’s receiving game took a considerable hit with the departures of Jones Jr., Golladay and Sanu. The Lions drafted USC receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round, which could be quite the steal, as many draft boards listed him as a second-to third-round pick. Williams and Perriman could help as well, but the aerial attack still seems far from potent.
One area needing improvement is in the turnover department. Goff’s 13 interceptions with the Los Angeles Rams last season were tied for third-most, trailing only Carson Wentz and Drew Lock. The Lions also lost eight fumbles, or once every other game. In a division with three solid defenses, ball security will be crucial to Detroit’s success or a key reason for its failure.
Detroit Lions Defense
The Lions’ defense is going to be scary. Not scary in an “intimidating for opponents” kind of way, but in a way that will make you shield your eyes and tell small children to leave the room when they take the field.
In 2020, Detroit’s defense was third-worst against the pass and fifth-worst against the run in yards allowed. It added up to a league-worst 419.8 yards allowed per game. Detroit also had the second-fewest takeaways (12) and was penalized 103 times, tied for fourth-most in the league.
While they addressed the defensive line in the draft, taking Levi Onwuzurike in the second round and Alim McNeill in the third, those two may not be game-changers during their rookie campaigns. Brockers should help bring them along. A nine-year vet, Brockers is coming off arguably his best season with the Rams last year.
The secondary is still a big cause for concern. Second-year safety Jeff Okudah showed flashes of promise at times last season, but he was inactive due to injury over the final six games. The whole unit is young and will experience growing pains, as all of the projected starters (Okudah, Tracy Walker, Will Harris, Amani Oruwariye) were drafted in 2018 or later.
Detroit Lions FAQs
What should fans expect from new head coach Dan Campbell?
Campbell has a big personality and has gone above and beyond in press conferences to show a locker room attitude shift. Wanting a culture shift to increase toughness and competition level, Campbell was quoted in his introductory presser as saying: “When you knock us down, we’re gonna get up, and on the way up, we’re gonna bite a kneecap off …” among other extreme metaphors. Only time will tell if it works, but at least fans know they’ll get great interviews regardless of the outcome.
If the Lions make a trade to get help anywhere on the team, where do they need the most help?
The Lions need the most help on defense, specifically in the secondary.
The Lions are playing on Thanksgiving again. What is their record on Thanksgiving Day?
Detroit has a 37-42-2 record when playing on Thanksgiving.