Detroit News predictions: Is another double-digit loss season in store for Lions?

The Detroit News

Justin Rogers, James Hawkins, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions for how the Lions will fare this season.

► Justin Rogers: There's optimism for the Lions' future, but it shouldn't rooted in the 2021 season. The franchise's rebuild, which began in earnest when they traded away quarterback Matthew Stafford, will require the team to traverse another valley before they attempt to ascend to playoff contention. Even with a former No. 1 pick in Jared Goff replacing Stafford and the makings of a top-tier offensive line, the offense is going to struggle. On the other hand, the defense, which is coming off the worst season in franchise history, should be improved, but probably not enough to close the gap. With a brutal schedule to boot, it's going to be a long first year for coach Dan Campbell and company. Record: 4-13

Under new head coach Dan Campbell, the Lions will look to avoid a fourth consecutive season with 10-plus losses.

► James Hawkins: It’s going to take a lot of hoping for the Lions to avoid another last-place finish in the NFC North. Hope Jared Goff can return to his prior Pro Bowl form. Hope the long-struggling running game can finally get on track. Hope the defense isn’t as woefully inept as last season. Hope the young roster makes steady progress from week to week. But the reality is there’s no magic wand for coach Dan Campbell to fix everything during a developmental year that figures to have plenty of growing pains and losses along the way. Record: 4-13

► John Niyo: The NFL schedule-maker didn’t do a new coaching staff in Detroit any favors. All three divisional opponents on the road in the first month, and two home games against the 49ers and Ravens? That’s a brutal introduction. If the Lions can’t run, they won’t be able to hide. But if the plan is to be better in October and November with a young roster, patience — and perspective — will be required. Depth may be as well, though, and that’s a huge concern with this roster. Record: 5-12 

► Bob Wojnowski: Dan Campbell has stirred up enthusiasm and attention, a fine start. Now he has to stir up a defense, and that’ll take more time. For now, the Lions will run D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams behind a talented offensive line, while trying to give Jared Goff a thorough test drive at quarterback. That won’t be easy because they basically have one true receiving threat, tight end T.J. Hockenson. To call the season a success, they need to erase any ambiguity about Goff, one way or the other. And their young roster must improve dramatically from Week 1 to Week 17. Record: 4-13