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Detroit Lions Betting Tips – The Back Seven On Defense Needs To Improve For The Lions

Posted by Tony Bryant on 6/25/2012 4:55:12 PM

Head Coach: Jim Schwartz
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Linehan
Defensive Coordinator: Gunther Cunningham
Owner: William Clay Ford
Stadium: Ford Field
Capacity: 65,000
Super Bowl Wins: None

Offense

The foremost betting sites will tell you that the Detroit Lions are rounding into one of the very best offenses in the NFL. In 2011, the Lions finished 5th in the NFL with 6,337 yards of offense, and they were one of just four teams to finish the season with an average of more than 300 passing yards per game. However, the numbers really don't tell the story of the Lions' journey to the playoffs, a terrific season for the only NFC team that has never made the Super Bowl. The biggest breakthrough for the Lions came at the quarterback position, as Matthew Stafford – an evidently talented young player from the University of Georgia – shrugged off the injuries that marred his 2009 and 2010 seasons. Stafford got battered and beaten up in his first two years as a pro quarterback, leading a lot of pigskin pundits to wonder if he could establish any longevity in the league and allow his talents to shine through.

The physical skills were always there with Stafford, but his level of endurance was always the question mark. Last season, he received enough protection from his offensive line to become the signal caller the Detroit organization has been longing for. Stafford took some lumps, but in the fires of December football – with a playoff berth on the line – Stafford led his team to a game-winning 98-yard touchdown drive at Oakland. A week later, Stafford didn't slip off the beam; he guided his team to an emphatic win over San Diego to lock up a playoff berth. The Lions can now feel that they have a legitimate Super Bowl-caliber quarterback on their team. The presence of superstar receiver Calvin Johnson on the roster will enable Stafford to reach the next level. This offense will be very hard to stop in 2012.

Grade: A-

Defense

Sports betting lines will certainly lean to the over in Lions games this season. Over-under numbers will be high, and they'll still be exceeded whenever the Lions play. Detroit's defense was decidedly mediocre in 2011, finishing 23rd in the league by allowing 5,881 yards. The Lions' secondary was awful, and its linebacking corps – which simply could not tackle New Orleans Saints ballcarriers in the wild card round of the playoffs – wasn't much better. Detroit fielded a strong defensive front with Nick Fairley joining Ndamukong Suh in the trenches, but without any help from the back seven, the Lions' pass rush could only do so much. This is still a subpar defense. It needs to become a lot better if the Lions want to make the Super Bowl.

Grade: D+

Special Teams

Prevailing online sportsbook odds are not going to dock Detroit based on its special teams. An average of 41.4 net yards per punt is solid, especially for a team that can make up field position quickly with its offense. The Lions will live with that number in 2012 if they can get it. The 88.2 percent conversion rate on field goals from longtime veteran Jason Hanson will get the job done. Hanson didn't miss a single kick under 40 yards throughout 2011.

Grade: B+

Prediction

The Lions should be able to return to the playoffs, but can they pass the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North? It's doubtful. Green Bay's offense is one of the few offenses in the league that can outpace Detroit's, and the Packers' defense is comparable to the Lions. In a two-team race, Green Bay is still the choice. The Lions will finish 11-5. They need to make the NFC divisional playoff round in order to claim progress by the time the season comes to an end.

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. St. Louis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at San Francisco (8:20 PM ET)
Week 3 – at Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – vs. Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
Week 6 – at Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET)
Week 7 – at Chicago (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 8 – vs. Seattle (1:00 PM ET)
Week 9 – at Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – at Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – vs. Green Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 12 – vs. Houston (Thursday, 12:30 PM ET)
Week 13 – vs. Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – at Green Bay (8:20 PM ET)
Week 15 – at Arizona (4:05 PM ET)
Week 16 – vs. Atlanta (Saturday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 17 – vs. Chicago (1:00 PM ET)


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