16. Detroit Lions
The Lions were lucky enough to get the Patriots coordinator who didn’t back out of his commitment at the last second and Matt Patricia gets his first crack in charge of a team desperate for success. Much like we never saw Jim Caldwell smile, the Lions never saw much success in the playoffs during his four-year tenure. Two exits in the Wild-Card round is a problem, especially when you’re paying Matthew Stafford $125 million.
None of the free agent moves made were overly exciting. Devon Kennard was the biggest splash, joining the team one a three-year, $17.25 million deal. That’s not to say the Lions were losers in free agency. We saw plenty of teams overpay and the Lions were able to add quality depth on both sides of the ball without forking over too much cash. Patricia even gets to reunite with running back LeGarrette Blount for at least one more season.
The problem is, the division doesn’t provide any favors. The Vikings are arguably a top two team with Kirk Cousins’ addition. Aaron Rodgers has been the kryptonite over the years and is back 100% healthy off a broken collarbone. It’s going to take a hell of an effort to avoid finish 9-7 for the third straight season.
I don’t see the Lions as anything more than just an average team, which is why I have them smack dab in the middle at No. 16. Not much is going to excite you and while playoffs are certainly a possibility, they still don’t have the tools to make a deep run.