The outlook doesn’t appear to be particularly rosy for the Lions next season.
Las Vegas has them finishing below .500. Their roster doesn’t particularly impress the folks over at Pro Football Focus, who ranked it 28th. They’ve already lost their starting left tackle for part of next season because of shoulder surgery.
Heck, even former players are glad they’re no longer in Detroit.
But, the worst team in the NFL? A team that’s coming off a playoff appearance? Well, yeah, CBS Sports thinks it’s possible.
CBS Sports ranked 10 teams Thursday with the best chance to land the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft — meaning they’d be bringing up the rear in the NFL — and the Lions were sitting right there, at No. 7.
Granted, Sean Wagner-McGough has the Lions as one of four “surprising longshots” to land the grand prize for a season of futility, even saying he was “pessimistic” the Lions’ would fall all the way from 9-7 last season to the bottom of the NFL barrel.
But, still, there’s a chance, Wagner-McGough writes.
“The Lions were a bad football team in disguise last year,” he writes. “Don’t let their playoff appearance fool you. ... The Lions got to nine wins due to their ability to win close games, posting an 8-5 record in one-score contests. But that’s more so a function of luck than skill, meaning it’s unlikely the Lions will win 62 percent of their one-score games again.”
Wagner-McGough notes that in four games last season — against lower-echelon teams in the Bears (splitting two games), Rams and Jaguars — the Lions had a point differential plus-10.
“The Lions are not a great football team,” Wagner-McGough writes. “They‘re a lucky team with a good, not great quarterback (in Matthew Stafford). And they reside in the tough NFC North. A decline is coming. The only question is, how far will they fall?”
Could be worse, Lions fans. Could be the Jets, who lead CBS Sports’ list.