2019 NFL Power Rankings: Who heads into summer at No. 1?
By Ian Cummings
No. 20 – Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are a hard team to like. They’re also a hard team to hate.
The Lions have a substantial amount of talent in certain areas. Their defensive front is one of the most versatile in the NFL. Their offensive skill position group is well-stocked now with T.J. Hockenson aboard. And, of course, there’s Matthew Stafford, the signal caller who’d be mounting a Hall of Fame career, if he had the playoff wins to show for it.
After last season, there needs to be a talk about whether or not Stafford has lost a bit of juice in his arm, but assuming he hasn’t, the Lions do have enough talent to mount a playoff run in an NFC North that appears wide open. Need examples? Kenny Golladay has run away with the team’s No. 1 WR job, and Darius Slay is a top five NFL cornerback on the other side.
If the Lions fail to improve on previous marks, it won’t be solely because of talent. Stafford’s recent production is questionable, and there’s also a lack of clarity as to whether or not Matt Patricia is the right man to lead the Lions. His first year received mixed reviews, and there were times where he seemed like a prickly personality to onlookers. He’s also failed to find an offensive coordinator capable of bringing Stafford back to peak form.
Patricia still has plenty left to prove, and Stafford must prove that he’s not breaking down from previous overuse. But there are reasons to be excited for the Lions. Reasons to bet on them? Maybe not yet. But the Lions are in the thick of the league. Stuck in the middle. And it’s in that realm, where surprises can happen.