The Lions finally got over the hump and qualified for the postseason putting up 11 wins in the regular season with one of the league’s best defenses. Detroit was No. 1 against the run, second in total defense, and third in scoring defense last year. The big question for second-year head coach Jim Caldwell is if the Lions can do it again. Historically, the Detroit Lions have had a difficult time repeating a playoff performance but in 2015, the pieces are in place which could be a profitable situation for Lions Nation. 2015 Super Bowl predictions have listed Detroit as +4000 longshots to win the championship, +2200 to win the NFC Conference and +600 in NFL odds to win the NFC North. Although the Lions lost all-everything defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as well as running mate DT Nick Fairley, the Lions signed Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata from Baltimore and DT Tyrunn Walker from New Orleans. They also drafted 6-3, 300-pound Gabe Wright out of Auburn.
The rest of the Detroit Lions defense is solid with DE Ziggy Ansah (7.5 sacks) leading the pass rush and LBs DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch plugging the middle. Quarterback Matthew Stafford returns for his seventh season as the Lions starter. Last year, Caldwell and OC Joe Lombardi dialed it back somewhat with Stafford and let the defense control the tempo of games. It was needed as the Lions lacked a proven running game in 2014, finishing a miserable 28th in the NFL. The team took the steps to fix that and make things a little easier on Stafford. Detroit drafted Duke guard Laken Tomlinson, a 6-3, 323-pound mass of an offensive lineman. Then, the Lions went out and got Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round. The 5-9, 215-pound Abdullah should pair well with fifth-year pro Joique Bell.
Of course, the offense also features the game’s best receiver in Calvin Johnson, who had 71 receptions for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing three games. There is also Golden Tate, who led the Lions in receiving last year with 99 catches for 1,331 yards. Detroit also has a very capable tight end in Brandon Pettigrew and second-year pro Eric Ebron (6-4, 265) is said to be improving. Because of their efforts last season, the Lions will play a much stronger schedule then just those in the 2015 NFC North division. They face both Denver and Seattle in NFL odds for the first four weeks of the season, travel to London to face Kansas City, and have back-to-back Thursday games with Philadelphia and Green Bay. Caldwell and Detroit will find out where they stand in terms of Super Bowl predictions very early in the 2015 season.
Lions Update (9/9/15): Detroit are now +3300 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +1600 to win the NFC Conference and +450 to win the NFC North.