I understand that the Lions have not given anybody a reason to give them the benefit of the doubt yet. They haven’t taken the field and erased the stench of the Millen years yet, but Whatifsports.com has predicted the Lions will go 0-16 in the 2010 season [Editor’s Note: this prediction was based on their Absolute Record which is statistically based, the Lions’ Expected Record is 2-14. The Absolute Record is explained later in my article.]
Whatifsports.com assigns ratings to players similar to Madden football and then runs computer simulations of the season 501 times to get average scores and percentage of times each team wins. Here is what they came up with for the Lions:
2010 Detroit Lions
|4||@Green Bay Packers||5||6-35|
|5||St. Louis Rams||48||18-19|
|6||@New York Giants||5||9-33|
|9||New York Jets||16||10-21|
|12||New England Patriots||6||12-30|
|14||Green Bay Packers||5||9-34|
|15||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35||14-20|
According to their predictions, the Lions should not only go winless, but they will suffer double digit losses in 12 out of 16 games? They have a single digit chance of winning in nine games? They have a 14% chance of beating the Bills?!
In addition to the less than stellar team predictions, they added in a few individual predictions as well. Matthew Stafford is predicted to throw 14 Tds and increase his interception total to 26. Despite the addition of Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith will lead the team in rushing with 883 yards and 5 Tds. Lastly, Calvin Johnson is pegged for 1,045 yards and only 4 Tds.
The Lions haven’t proven anything on the field yet, but by all accounts they have spent the last two offseasons improving their talent level. I don’t expect the Lions to be a great team in 2010, but to say that they are long shots to beat Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Washington and barely match up with the Rams is a bit of a stretch.
I am normally a big fan of Whatifsports.com’s work, but these predictions seem to be a little pessimistic.
[Editor’s Note] I spoke with Ryan Fowler at Whatifsports.com after I originally posted this article and got some clarification on the predictions. The Absolute Record is an assumption that what should happen does happen. Obviously, that is not the case otherwise sports wouldn’t be entertaining so Whatifsports.com has the Expected Record which factors in upsets.
I still disagree with the assumption that the Lions will be so bad in 2010 that they should not win a game, and any that they do win will be an upset.
Ryan also clarified the process used to calculate the ratings and why Kevin Smith “out-rushes” Jahvid Best in the simulation.
…these simulations are pre-season predictions and a lot of the process is based off of statistics from last season … It’s tough to justify Best as the starter and give him “fake 2009 stats” just to make him the leading rusher.
Ryan also explained the increase in Stafford’s interceptions is based on him playing more games in 2010 than 2009.