The Detroit Lions finished the 2015 season with a 7-9 record and were not competitive throughout the majority of the season. It was a rough year, but the Lions are hopeful that they will be able to start turning things around in 2016.
Just 2 years ago, the Lions were a playoff team and ended up getting knocked out in the Wild Card round of the playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the playoff loss, it seemed that the franchise was headed in the right direction. Seeing the team get derailed last season was tough for the fanbase, but there are reasons to believe that they can bounce back this season.
Matthew Stafford has yet to show consistency, although the Lions still believe that he is their franchise quarterback. Finding a running game that can take pressure off of Stafford’s shoulders each and every week will be a key for the Lions as well.
Perhaps the most obvious change this offseason was superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson choosing to retire. Not seeing him in a Lions’ jersey will seem wrong. He has been the face of the Lions’ franchise for years and replacing him will be nearly impossible.
All of that being said, what five bold predictions can be made for the Detroit Lions heading into the 2016 NFL season?
Matthew Stafford Will Be in Contention for the NFL MVP Award
This bold prediction will be disagreed with by a lot of fans and analysts, but it is time for Matthew Stafford to have his breakout season. Stafford has shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to put a complete season together. Detroit may not have Megatron for him to throw to, but they have a lot of weapons that he will make the most of.
Ameer Abdullah Breaks Out as a Franchise Caliber Running Back
Detroit has to figure out who the future is at the running back position for their franchise. Ameer Abdullah is the most interesting option on the roster and will break out with a big season for the Lions. He will prove that he is a capable, franchise caliber running back and will be a dangerous weapon all season long.
Marvin Jones Replaces Calvin Johnson Admirably
No player could fully replace a superstar like Calvin Johnson, but Marvin Jones will do an admirable job this season. He was signed in free agency and that move will end up being one of the most of the offseason. Jones is a great physical presence on-the-field and will dominate opposing defenses throughout the 2016 season.
Ezekiel Ansah Will Record at Least 20 Sacks During the Season
Last season with the Lions, Ezekiel Ansah ended up recording 14.5 sacks and showed signs of superstardom. It was a big year for him to say the least, but he will have an even bigger season for the Lions in 2016. Ansah will record at least 20 sacks and will be one of the best pass rushers in the entire league.
The Detroit Lions Will Make the NFL Playoffs as a Wild Card Team
There aren’t many media members who would put money on the Lions making it into the NFL playoffs. They didn’t make any massive additions this offseason and last season was rough. Detroit will shock the league and will end up making the playoffs as a Wild Card team in the NFC.
Expect to see the Lions play above the expectations that are being set for them at this point in time. They have a lot of talent on their roster and they will finally play up to their potential this season.
Do you think the Detroit Lions will end up making the NFL playoffs during the 2016 NFL season? Can Matthew Stafford step up and assume his role as the Lions’ franchise quarterback? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Brynn Anderson]