January 2024 ended on a sad note for Detroit football lovers who experienced much heartache watching their beloved Detroit Lions not make it to the Superbowl after having a better-than-expected season.
They saw their team lose at Levi’s Stadium to the San Francisco 49ers in a game they were winning, as Dan Campbell’s squad allowed the 49ers to fiercely rally back and produce a historic comeback en route to a 34-31 win. The win booked them an NFL championship date with the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated the top-seeded Ravens 17 to 10 at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28th. This new Super Bowl duel represents a rehash of the 2020 final when the Chiefs and Niners met at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
After years of not making it to the playoffs, Detroit went on an impressive 12-5 run this season, reaching the NFC Final, something few experts anticipated. Without question, the Lions, under Campbell’s leadership, made significant progress, breaking franchise records and getting much of the nation behind them. Before the start of the season, most online bookies had them at +900 to claim the NFC title, with virtually every Internet bookmaker giving the Eagles and Cowboys a much better shot of accomplishing this feat. It is worth mentioning that modern online sportsbooks factor in various data sets to make their incredibly accurate predictions, as noted in this EveryGame sportsbook review, an analysis of one premium such platform. So, they are rarely this wrong.
With the 2023/24 season-ending for Detroit, many NFL enthusiasts are now wondering if the Lions can repeat this year’s success and go even further in 2024/25. Below, we give you the scoop on what’s needed for that.
What is the main improvement the Lions must make in 2024/25?
The Lions must improve their poise and game in the third quarter if they wish to see success in the upcoming season. The team imploded in the third quarter against the 49ers, dropping seventeen points, and this was not the first time the Lions had a poor showing in this part of the game. Only three teams in the league had a worse third-quarter display this season.
So, from a purely analytics standpoint, this is a point the coaches must address and try and fix. Better halftime adjustments from Dan Campell are a must going forward. Detroit has shown strong first-half performances but has often gotten back into the game in a state of lethargy after the break. Defensive line enhancements must also be made, and the team should undoubtedly get a quality kicker.
What Players Can Make the Lions a Contender in 2024/25?
According to most pundits, Jameson Williams, the Lions’ wide receiver, has likely finally turned a corner, displaying elite speed in 2023, and will also have a big 2024. Willimas finished the season with his most productive 2023/24 game, which many saw as a good sign for things to come. Sports Illustrated writer – John Maakaron believes Williams has gotten poised for a breakout 2024 season. Veteran wideout Kalif Raymond mentioned for the official Detroit Lions website that – he is so proud of watching Jameson in his impressive latter half of the season run. And that this did not come as a surprise to him.
After having a quality debut season in Detroit following his arrival from college football and Iowa, linebacker Jack Campbell should see more playing time in his sophomore Lions season, adopting more of a full-time role.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, who many consider the team’s breakout player, will have much to live up to in 2024. Of course, he has to look to stay injury-free to reprise some of the skills he showed in the second half of the 2023/24 season, where he had impressive all-around performances with multiple sacks and interceptions. Gibbs should again shine as a running back, and quarterback Jared Goff (if extended) must display a good run of form for the squad to do anything of note.
What other aspects are fans curious about for 2024?
After getting so close to making it to the Super Bowl, fans’ appetites have grown sizably, and going by comments on social media, the Lions face a pivotal offseason with multiple looming questions. These include contract extensions for standout players and staff members, like Mike Vrabel returning to conduct defensive coordinator duties, and the elephant in the room, Jared Goff staying in the squad. Management must factor in potential cap casualties when making team decisions, such as the potential offensive line reshuffle and evaluating their backup options.
Other people are curious to see how the safety position will get addressed, which had loads of depth but produced mixed results in 2023/24, and many are also wondering if it is time to go all-in with free agency/trades, stemming from the belief that Detroit is lacking stars in some vital positions.