2019 Detroit Lions will start the season 0-11, ESPN simulation says
Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free PressPublished 8:59 a.m. ET Sept. 3, 2019 | Updated 12:20 p.m. ET Sept. 3, 2019
NFL power rankings: Where the teams stand to start 2019 season
Depending on how you look at preseason predictions, this is either a really good omen or a terrible sign of things to come.
With the 2019 NFL season beginning Thursday, ESPN took it upon itself to simulate all 267 games in the regular season and playoffs, using its “Football Power Index” (FPI) to see what scores and storylines would be generated.
According to this simulation, the Detroit Lions will lose their season opener, 36-10, to the Arizona Cardinals, the second consecutive season in which they get blown out by a rookie quarterback (Kyler Murray) making his NFL debut.
NFL power rankings: Where the Detroit Lions stand going into the fall
It only gets worse from there. The Lions then lose 31-27 to the Los Angeles Chargers, 26-16 to the Philadelphia Eagles and 22-17 to the Kansas City Chiefs to enter the bye week at 0-4.
Do the Lions use the week off to regroup and get healthy in time for NFC North play? Well, if they do, it didn’t work. They proceed to lose 34-7 to the Green Bay Packers (ouch), 20-17 to the Minnesota Vikings, 16-15 to the New York Giants and 14-9 to the Oakland Raiders to enter the halfway point at 0-8. The Packers lead the division at 8-1 after Week 9.
Shades of 2008 are starting to creep up at this point.
“Fans ponder calling for a quarterback change, but then remember Josh Johnson is Matthew Stafford’s backup,” ESPN writes in its projected storyline.
The Lions don’t get their first win until Week 13, when they beat the Chicago Bears 27-13 on Thanksgiving to improve to 1-11.
Then, noticing that they’re within easy striking distance of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Lions go on a run, winning three of their final four games to end the season 4-12, capped by a 35-34 loss to the Packers.
The NFC North, according to ESPN’s projection:
- Packers: 13-3 (also the best record in the NFL)
- Bears: 8-7-1
- Vikings: 7-9
- Lions: 4-12
The projection has the New Orleans Saints beating the Los Angeles Chargers 40-33 to win Super Bowl LIV.
Of course, to repeat, this is just a simulation. If it makes you feel any better, ESPN selected this one at random out of “20,000 season-long simulations,” meaning perhaps in another dimension (er, simulation), the Lions actually start 11-0 instead of 0-11 and proceed to win the Super Bowl.
Then again, these are the Lions we’re talking about, so… uh… maybe next year, Lions fans.