Through the first ten games of the 2021 NFL season, the Detroit Lions are 0-9-1. They haven’t won a game since December of 2020. They have had opportunities, however, something always seems to go wrong.
Against Baltimore, the Lions had a lead late in the game, and the Ravens were facing a 4th-and-19. Baltimore found a way to convert on fourth down, and Justin Tucker would go on to make an NFL record 66-yard field goal. They also lost to Minnesota on a late long field goal, this time a 54 yarder. Detroit also had a chance to win on a field goal against Pittsburgh in overtime but missed it. The team has given themselves chances but can’t close out the game.
One of the main problems this year for the Lions is one they haven’t had in a long time, the quarterback position. The Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff trade hasn’t worked out the way that the Lions had hoped it would. Goff has thrown for 2,109 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games played. He was out against Cleveland with an injury and in his replacement Tim Boyle through for 77 yards and two interceptions.
Another problem for the Lions has been their defense. The mentioned blown leads against the Ravens and Vikings are just part of the issues there. The team ranks 27th in total defense, 31st against the run, and 30th in points allowed. The good news is that they rank 13th against the pass, and that’s without cornerback Jeff Okudah.
Detroit is also having problems getting to the quarterback. The team only has 15 sacks on the year, second-worst in the NFL behind the Falcons. Charles Harris leads the team in sacks with four.
There have been some bright spots for the Lions this year. After a slow start, D’Andre Swift is starting to show that he can be a starting back in this league. He rushed for over 100 yards and almost ten yards a carry against the Browns.
Tight end TJ Hockenson is becoming one of the top young tight ends in the league. He leads the team in catches with 54. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye is tied for fourth in the league with four interceptions. After overcoming some early-season struggles, rookie tackle Penei Sewell has been showing why he was a top-ten pick.
The Lions have fought hard all year and have some players to build around for the future. They will also have two first-round picks in the 2022 draft that can help them get some impact players. However, one question remains for the team. Will they win a game in 2021?