Detroit has been a complete dumpster fire this season.
The highlight of the Lions season? A tie against Pittsburgh and back up QB Mason Rudolph last week. This result assures that the Lions will not be the NFL’s first 0-17 team.
I’m sure coach Dan Campbell celebrated this with champaign in the locker after the game.
Detroit is awful because of a lack of interest in the passing game on both sides of the ball.
The secondary came into the season with huge question marks, and injuries to CB Jeffrey Okudah and others have made it worse. They ranked 25th in my adjusted success rate, but their 31st worst coverage grade by PFF seems more appropriate.
The offense gutted their wide receiver unit this off season, and then injuries to Tyrell Williams and others took their toll. This season, TE TJ Hockenson and RB D’Andre Swift have had the most targets in the passing game.
However, it’s the offense that gives the Lions some hope. Led by QB Jared Goff, they rank 16th in my adjusted success rate. The numbers suggest they can have success on offense but haven’t moved the ball efficiently (28th in my adjusted yards per pass attempt).
To determine whether the Lions will win a game, consider their win probability in each remaining game. These predictions come from my analytics available to members of The Power Rank, and these predictions have had a smaller root mean squared error compared to game results (14.39) than the closing markets (14.41) in 2021.
In the following list, I reveal the probability that the Lions get their first win over that team. For example, consider the probability that Detroit gets their first win over Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. To get this, I multiply the probability that the Lions lose to Cleveland and the probability they win against Chicago.
The last item for each team gives my price for the Lions to beat that team for their first win.
- Cleveland: 19.4%, +415
- Chicago: 35.9%, +179
- Minnesota: 14.2%, +605
- Denver: 8.0%, +1145
- Arizona: 6.2%, +1503
- Atlanta: 5.8%, +1621
- Seattle: 2.7%, +3574
- Green Bay: 1.9%, +5169
- winless: 5.8%, +1610
Let’s compare these calculations with the odds at DraftKings. If the DraftKings price is larger than the price above, this suggests value on this bet.
For example, the largest discrepancy between my numbers and the market is Arizona. DraftKings will pay out +3500 while my fair price is +1503. Right now, I’d make Arizona a 7.5 point favorite with a healthy Kyler Murray.
The markets have Green Bay at +2500, which suggests a much lower probability than my model. This game happens the last week of the season, and the markets are considering that Green Bay might not have an incentive to play all of their starters.
Maybe the Lions tank the season in an attempt to draft Kayvon Thibodeaux with the top pick of the 2022 NFL draft. However, this seems unlikely with the sheer competitiveness of every NFL player and even more unlikely for a Dan Campbell team. If they perform as my metrics expect, there is a 94.2% chance that the Lions win a game.
Football betting with a PhD edge
This article was sent to The Power Rank’s email newsletter, a free service that strives to be:
The predictions are based on my PhD research from Stanford, and the content covers college football and the NFL.
To get this free service delivered straight into your inbox, enter your best email address and click on “Sign up now!”