The following is an excerpt of the Lions Preview Chapter from Warren Sharp’s 2024 Football Preview book. In addition to Warren’s deep, detailed write-up on all 32 NFL teams, each chapter features page after page of full-color charts, stats, and heatmaps to help you fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of every team heading into the 2024 NFL season. Click here for a full FREE chapter from the 2024 Football Preview.

The 2022 Lions season was one of changes and adaptations in order to exceed their 6.5-game win total and win nine games. 

The team was the #6 most injured squad and sat at 1-6 through Week 8 of 2022.

Ben Johnson had to figure out how to get this offense back on track because the defense wasn’t going to help.

They shifted up their personnel groupings. 

They massively lowered Jared Goff’s target depth, which helped reduce interceptions 

They made philosophical changes in the fourth quarter to close out games better.

It’s not easy winning nine games after a 1-6 start. The Lions had to make important, big changes to win eight of their final 10 games and claw their way to a 9-8 finish.

The 2023 season, on the other hand, was much, much different.

Detroit started 5-1 in 2023 as opposed to 1-5 in 2022.

They didn’t need to shift up their personnel groupings. 

They didn’t need to lower their target depth or reduce interceptions.

They didn’t need to modify anything to close out games better. 

This offense posted the following ranks on early downs in the first half of games last year:

  • #5 in points scored
  • #3 in yards/play
  • #3 in EPA/play
  • #1 in YPA
  • #4 in YPC
  • #2 in EPA/att
  • #6 in EPA/rush

Additionally, they had the #6 best third down avoidance, the #6 lowest distance to-go on third down, and were top 10 in conversion rate on third downs in the first half.

They scored 250 first half points, which helped them to lead at halftime in 13 games. They went 11-2 in those games.

This was one of the best first half teams in the NFL.

However, despite the offense as a whole last year ranking:

  • #3 in total yards gained
  • #3 in yards/play
  • #5 in total points scored
  • #5 in EPA/play

They only won their games by an average of 3.9 points per game (#8). 

And they only won their games by 3.9 ppg thanks to recording the NFL’s #1 best EPA/play in the fourth quarter and scoring the most points in the NFL in the fourth quarter of games.

If they had not been the NFL’s best fourth quarter offense, they would have lost far more games than they did in 2023 despite the fact they were a top-three offense in the first half.

Why did they have to be so perfect in the fourth quarter offensively?

Primarily because of two factors:

  1. Their defense was terrible
  2. Their third quarter offensive strategy and execution left much to be desired

This analysis continues in the 2024 Football Preview

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Warren Sharp’s book shares insights into the players, coaches, teams, and philosophies with one goal: to prepare you for the 2024 NFL season with the smartest information delivered in the fastest, most direct way possible for optimal reviewing and retention.

  • Team Chapters previews are in-depth, data driven & full of actionable info
  • Fantasy Football player profiles, predictions, and ranks
  • Vegas Odds forecast team wins, division rankings, lines for all 2024 games
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