Early in the 2020 NFL season, Matt Patricia is already on the hot seat, and he may have substantial value with the third-highest first coach fired odds of +600. Patricia had his second straight last-place finish in the NFC North in 2019, as the Lions had a 3-12-1 record, the franchise’s worst since 2009.
Stafford’s injury troubles plagued Detroit in 2019, but the Lions did finish with the league’s 18th-most points. Without star wide receiver Kenny Golladay in 2020, the Lions have struggled on offense, as they rank 22nd in points in the NFL through two games. Although new Lions running back Adrian Peterson is averaging an impressive 6.4 yards per carry at 35 years old, the rest of the Detroit running game has struggled.
Meanwhile, the passing game has been limited even though 12th-year quarterback Matthew Stafford (58.7 completion percentage) has found multiple Lions for triple-digit yards through two weeks in 2020. Five different Lions have at least six receptions, including rookie running back D’Andre Swift, three wide receivers, and one tight end.
Second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson leads the team with nine receptions and 118 receiving yards in addition to having one of the team’s three receiving touchdowns this season. With Golladay returning to the lineup as early as Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Lions offense could immediately become more efficient.
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2020 Lions Draft Picks
Jeff Okudah, CB (Ohio State)
D’Andre Swift, RB (Georgia)
Julian Okwara, DE (Notre Dame)
Jonah Jackson, OG (Ohio State)
Logan Stenberg, OG (Kentucky)
Quintez Cephus, WR (Wisconsin)
Jason Huntley, RB (New Mexico State)
John Penisini, DT (Utah)
Jashon Cornell, DT (Ohio)
Notable Other New Faces for the Lions
Chase Daniel, QB
Adrian Peterson, RB
Danny Shelton, DT
Nick Williams, DE
Jamie Collins, OLB
Reggie Ragland, LB
Elijah Lee, LB
Desmond Trufant, CB
Darryl Roberts, CB
Chris Jones, CB
Tony McRae, CB
Duron Harmon, S
Jayron Kearse, S
Notable Lions in New Places
Jeff Driskel, QB – Denver Broncos
J.D. McKissic, RB – Washington Football Team
Jason Huntley, RB – Philadelphia Eagles
Travis Fulgham, WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Lacy, WR – released
Logan Thomas, TE – Washington Football Team
Mike Daniels, DT – Cincinnati Bengals
Devon Kennard, LB – Arizona Cardinals
Rashaan Melvin, CB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Darius Slay, CB – Philadelphia Eagles
Notable Lions on the Injury Report
Bo Scarbrough, RB – placed on injured reserve for an undisclosed reason; expected to return for Week 4
Nick Bawden, RB – placed on injured reserve for an undisclosed reason
Kenny Golladay, WR – questionable for Week 3 with a hamstring injury
Hunter Bryant, TE – out for Week 3 with a hamstring injury; has yet to play in 2020
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT – questionable for week 3 with a foot injury
Joe Dahl, OG – placed on injured reserve with a groin injury; expected to return for Week 6
Austin Bryant, DE – placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List for an undisclosed reason; expected to return for Week 8
Jashon Cornell, DT – placed on injured reserve with an Achilles injury
Desmond Trufant, CB – out for Week 3 with a hamstring injury after missing Week 2
Mike Ford, CB – placed on injured reserve with a leg injury; expected to return for Week 4
Justin Coleman, CB – placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury; expected to return for Week 6
C.J. Moore, S – questionable for Week 3 with a calf injury
Lions Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Geronimo Allison, WR
Russell Bodine, C
John Atkins, DT
Lions Offense Predictions
Matthew Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times in his NFL career, but he has not brought them to the postseason since 2016. Also, he has yet to win a playoff game in his professional career.
Detroit has had a frustrating 0-2 start to the season, but the team hopes that getting Golladay back will help. The fourth-year wide receiver, who led the NFL with 11 touchdowns last year, hopes to be a playmaker right away when he returns in Week 3.
Lions Running Backs: Will 35-Year-Old Adrian Peterson Finish the Season as the Team’s Rushing Leader?
The running back situation is an interesting one in 2020 after the Lions ranked 26th in rushing attempts and 21st in rushing yards in 2019. Last year, running backs Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, and J.D. McKissic worked as a committee with Johnson leading the running backs in most counting statistics. While Johnson rushed for just 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, they all worked together to get the Lions the 10th-best yards per carry in the league.
With the No. 35 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Lions selected D’Andre Swift. They then brought in Adrian Peterson as well. In the first two games, Peterson is the most efficient runner on the team, as Johnson continues to be inefficient. Johnson and Swift have the rushing touchdowns thus far this season. Swift has also been involved in the passing game but did drop the potential game-winning catch in Week 1.
Lions Wide Receivers: Can Kenny Golladay Stay Healthy and Be the Best Player for Detroit Again in 2020?
Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, and Quintez Cephus have been the main three wide receivers for the Lions this season. In 2019, just one wide receiver other than Kenny Golladay had more than one touchdown reception. That man is Marvin Jones Jr., who has already scored once in 2020.
Overall through Week 2, Jones has eight receptions for 78 yards. Amendola has seven receptions for 102 yards while Cephus has six receptions for 97 yards. The only other wide receiver with a touchdown in 2020 is Marvin Hall, who has two receptions for 50 yards.
Lions Tight Ends: Can T.J. Hockenson Lead the Lions in Receiving This Season?
After being selected No. 8 overall in the 2019 draft, T.J. Hockenson hopes to continue to live up to the hype. The University of Iowa product finished his rookie year with 32 receptions, 367 receiving yards, and two touchdowns in just 12 games.
He is already off to a good start this season, as he has a chance to finish the season as the team’s receiving leader. Stafford has targeted Hockenson nine times in 2020, and he has caught all nine of those balls. If he continues to have a high catch percentage, Hockenson could surpass 1,000 receiving yards.
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Lions Defense Predictions
New Lions CB Desmond Trufant has had some injury troubles this season, as his hamstring issue is going to hold him out of his second consecutive game in Week 3. Rookie CB Jeffrey Okudah will continue to fill in, and he will have the challenging task of matching up with Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Through just two games, Hopkins’ 22 receptions lead the NFL. He also has 219 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The Lions continue to be without CB Justin Coleman, who is also out with a hamstring injury. Detroit signed CB Darryl Roberts to a one-year deal during the offseason after playing three seasons for the New York Jets. Detroit’s third cornerback is second-year player Amani Oruwariye, who had two interceptions last season.
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Lions Special Teams Predictions
Two-time Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater is one of the longest-tenured Lions. He signed with Detroit in 2014 after the Denver Broncos released him. Prater spent eight seasons in the Mile High City, and he is entering his seventh year with Detroit. Prater’s best career season came in 2013 when he led the NFL in field goal percentage (96.2 percent) for the AFC Champion Broncos. He also made a league-leading 75 extra points that year.
In 2020, he has made each of his three kicks from inside 50 yards but has already missed multiple kicks of at least 50 yards. He is on pace to attempt the greatest number of long field goals of his career. His career-high for 50-yard attempts is 11 (2017) while his single-season highest number of 50-yard makes is seven (2016, 2017, and 2019).
Lions Head Coach Predictions
Matt Patricia, a three-time Super Bowl champion, spent a long time with the New England Patriots before becoming the Lions head coach. Heading into 2020, Patricia’s head coaching record was a dismal 9-22-1. If Patricia fails to reach a .500 record with the Lions this season, he may not be coaching Detroit in 2021.
Patricia took over the head coaching position for Jim Caldwell, who had a 36-28 record with the Lions. Caldwell made multiple postseasons in his four years with Detroit, but the Lions have fallen on hard times under Patricia. The former defensive coordinator hopes to finally bring the Detroit defense into the top 10 this season. The team is not off to a good start, though.
Lions Predictions for Week 3
The 0-2 Lions head to Arizona to face the 2-0 Cardinals for Week 3 of the 2020 season and opened as a 3.5-point underdog. The line ballooned to 5.5 points with an impressive over/under of 55.5 or 56 points depending on the book.
Arizona has one of the best defenses this season, so Matthew Stafford and company may be in for a long day. Besides, the Detroit defense is somewhat hobbled, so Kyler Murray may be able to exploit its holes. The only saving grace for the Lions is the return of Kenny Golladay. If he scores double-digit touchdowns again in 2020, Detroit could bounce back to have a .500 season.
Lions Predictions for 2020 Season
The Lions went just 5-9-2 against the spread in 2019. The 2020 over/under for the Lions was seven wins at the beginning of the season, and those who took the under are happy early in the season.
Detroit does not seem likely for success this season, so the +13000 Super Bowl odds for the Lions do not carry much value. They will need a drastic change to turn around this season.
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