Matt Stafford and Jim Bob Cooter are in the spotlight for the Detroit Lions, looking to build on last season’s momentum.
It was a tale of two seasons for the Detroit Lions in 2015, starting 1-7 SU/ATS and then finishing 6-2 SU/ATS down the stretch under the offensive leadership of Jim Bob Cooter. QB Matt Stafford had a blistering 19 to 2 ratio for TD:Interceptions during the hot streak but with Calvin Johnson’s retirement, we are left to wonder what type of identity the Lions offense will take on in 2016, and how long it will take to set in.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 7-9 SU and 7-9 ATS
Over/Under: 9-7 O/U
Noteworthy: Detroit was 6-18 SU and 5-19 ATS in November-December road games from 2009-2014, but managed a split in 2015 under Cooter. This year they’ll travel to Minnesota, New Orleans, New York (Giants) and Dallas and should be getting points in all four. Circle those games for potential contrarian value on the road dog.
Detroit was 11-5 in 2014 and made the playoffs (one and done) despite posting average offensive numbers. The story was a No. 3 ranked Lions D whose run-stop led the league at 70 yards allowed per game. Take Ndamukong Suh and C.J. Mosley out of the equation, however, and that rushing yard average ballooned to 113 yards per contest. To be fair, all seven of Detroit’s losses in the first-half came against playoff teams so it turned into a perfect storm. With a much easier first-half schedule, we’ll look for this unit to build off DE Ezekiel Ansah’s success (14.5 sacks) and once again become a formidable force up front.
LIONS BOTTOM LINE: MEGA-GONE
With Megatron out of the picture, Stafford indisputably becomes ‘the man’ in Rock City and he has a new No. 1 in Marvin Jones. Golden Tate, Jeremy Kerley and Eric Ebron are in the mix with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick sharing snaps out of the backfield. The Lions led by seven points or more in five of their final eight games last season so we’ll definitely be looking for an up tempo offense out of the gate.