2021 Season Preview: Detroit fans should enjoy watching new quarterback Jared Goff direct an offense that has good players at multiple positions. Those same fans may want to stop watching when the defense takes the field. The Lions are rebuilding the team and the D needs by far the most work. That could happen faster than many experts believe, which means Detroit could finish the year with 8 or 9 victories.
2020 Season Roundup: Matthew Stafford bounced back from his 2019 injury to throw for over 4,000 yards and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson kept chugging along at age 35. That was the good news. The bad news was Detroit’s defense, the worst in the NFL. If the Lions didn’t score three touchdowns or more, they didn’t win. The team went 5–11 despite fine years from receivers TJ Hockenson and Marvin Jones, and a Pro Bowl performance by punter Jack Fox.
2020 Season Preview: With no major favorite in the NFC North, the Lions can make the playoffs if they can fix their two biggest problems from 2019. First, quarterback Matthew Stafford has to stay healthy all year. The rest of the offense has the players to put big numbers up on the scoreboard. Second, the defense has to put more pressure on enemy passers, which means rookie Jeffrey Odukah has to quickly become a shut-down cornerback. If the Lions develop a few more defensive stars, they could win 10 games. And that might be enough for a division crown.
2019 Season Roundup: Detroit fans had fun watching Matthew Stafford pick apart opponents until a November injury ended his season. However, not even his great play could make up for a defense that gave up almost 400 yards per game. The Lions won just three times in 2019. Aside from Stafford, their standout player was receiver Kenny Golladay, who caught 65 passes and led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions.
October 20, 2019: Matthew Stafford threw for 364 yards, passing 40,000 for his career in his 147th game—faster than any quarterback in history.
2019 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford will need to have a career year for Detroit to make the playoffs, but he may have the weapons to make that happen. Theo Riddick is no longer in Detroit but Kerryon Johnson and CJ Anderson can handle the running and pass-catching chores in the backfield. Lineman Mike Daniels, who left the Packers for the Lions, should make Detroit better against the run.
2018 Season Roundup: Two close losses early in 2018 doomed the Lions to a sub-.500 season. With the Vikings, Bears, Seahawks and Rams still on the schedule, Detroit was fortunate to finish 6–10. Matthew Stafford passed for more than 3,500 yards but did not throw his 20th touchdown pass until the final game. Cornerback Darius Slay enjoyed another excellent year as the Lions’ best defensive player.
2018 Season Preview: No one doubts the passing skills of Matthew Stafford. The problem is no one fears the Lions’ running game. If the draft picks and free agents added by Detroit over the summer play well, that could change in 2018. If not, Stafford still has excellent pass-catchers in Golden Tate and Theo Riddick. The Lions defense is capable of winning close games, so a 10- or 11-win season (and a Wild Card spot) is very possible.
2017 Season Roundup: Matthew Stafford threw 29 touchdown passes, while Golden Tate and Marvin Jones each had over 1,000 receiving yards. The team’s defense was good one week and poor the next, resulting in a 9–7 record. That was one win short of a trip to the playoffs. Veteran Darius Slay was the standout on defense, leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and being named an All-Pro.
September 24, 2017: Matt Prater set an NFL single-season record with his 4th field goal of 55 or more yards in a season—with 13 games left in the season! He was named Special teams Player of the Month for September.
2017 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford may be the highest-paid QB in history, but Detroit’s season may rest on the quickness of running backs Theo Riddick Ameer Abdullah. All eyes, meanwhile, will be on the Lions’ pass rush. Last year their defense was terrible against the pass. It can’t get any worse, but how much better will it be?
2016 Season Roundup: The Lions returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Matthew Stafford was magnificent, throwing for 4,327 yards and 24 touchdowns, and leading Detroit on eight game-winning comeback drives. Golden Tate made up for the retirement of Calvin Johnson with 91 catches, while veteran Anquan Boldin added 67 more.
2016 Season Preview: Losing Calvin Johnson to retirement changes the look of the Detroit offense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will need to show he’s a big-game quarterback, and Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Theo Riddick will have to help. The Lions’ linebackers lead a defense that should be strong against the run. Can they stop the passing game?
December 13, 2015: Matthew Stafford reached 25,000 passing yards in his 90th game—faster than any quarterback in history.
2015 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson give opponents all they can handle, but the Lions need a running game to truly roar. The loss of Ndomukong Suh to free agency hurts the defense, but there is plenty of talent left, particularly among the linebackers and pass defenders.
September 1, 2014: Matt Stafford is now an NFL veteran and his favorite target, Calvin Johnson, is the best receiver in the league. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell give the Lions a good backfield. So all eyes will be on the Detroit defense, where there is a big drop-off in quality after superstar Ndamukong Suh.
November 28, 2013: The Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day. The last time Detroit won a Thanksgiving Day game was in 2003—against the Packers!
November 24, 2013: Calvin Johnson set a new record with 861 receiving yards over a five-game span. The previous record was set more than 50 years earlier, by Charlie Hennigan of the Houston Oilers.
October 28, 2013: Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards in a heart-stopping win over the Dallas Cowboys. He finished 8 yards short of the NFL record of 336 yards, set by Flipper Anderson in 1989. Johnson went over receiving 200 yards for the fifth time in his career, which tied an NFL record.
September 4, 2013: Matthew Stafford had a disappointing season, but Detroit fans believe he will bounce back thanks to newcomer Reggie Bush. Bush and Calvin Johnson give the Lions two unstoppable playmakers. The defense stars defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. At times, they too are unstoppable.
February 2, 2013: The Lions held their own through 8 games, but lost their final 8 to finish 4–12. Calvin Johnson’s pick as a First-Team All-Pro was one of the few highlights in a disappointing season.
December 22, 2012: Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards in a season during a game against the Atlanta Falcons. One week later, Johnson would add to his new record and finish the year with 1,964 yards.
September 9, 2012: Matthew Stafford threw for 355 yards against the St. Louis Rams in the opening game of the 2012 season. It was his fourth game in a row with more than 350 passing yards. Stafford was just the second player in history to accomplish this feat.
Summer, 2012: Good draft picks and great team spirit make the Lions one of the teams to watch in the NFC for 2012. What fans will be looking for is how well they do against the top teams. Last year Detroit did well against so-so opponents but failed to win a game against teams bound for the playoffs.