I read somewhere where the Detroit Lions are trendy pick to be the NFL's surprise team of 2020. But if that's the case, I'm having trouble finding many prognosticators bullish on the Leos for this upcoming season.

Longtime football insider, NBC's Peter King, is about the only one of the national media, that I can find, who is predicting good things for Detroit. King has the Lions as the 7th seed in the NFC playoffs. (The new collective bargaining agreement expanded the playoffs by one team, thus an added opportunity to make the postseason for the Lions.)

Most of the so-called experts I found have the Lions everywhere from 8-8 to 7-9, a lot of 5-11's and one Chicago writer has them for 3-12-1. (What is it with the Lions and tie games?)

King makes a legit argument. "Detroit was averaging 391 yards per game on offense at mid-season, top five in the league, when Matthew Stafford was lost for the year. Not sure of the ratio in the backfield now that Adrian Peterson is a Lion, but the run game will be good enough." He also notes some additions to the defense, but says top draft pick Jeff Okudah has to be great from the get-go because the Lions opening schedule is difficult. After the Bears this weekend, it's Green Bay, Arizona and New Orleans. That's Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray and Drew Brees.

But as everyone knows, it comes down to keeping Matthew Stafford's back healthy. If Stafford goes down, it's probably safe to say it's 'adios' to (GM Bob) Quinn and (Coach Matt) Patricia, though new team owner Sheila Ford Hamp is still an unknown factor, having taken over from her mother earlier this year.

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