The 2022 NFL season is on the horizon! Consequently, many football fans across the league are gearing up for another insane season. A ton of change occurred during the NFL offseason, and one team that made its own changes is the Detroit Lions. Now it’s time to make some bold Lions predictions for the 2022 NFL season.
After a tumultuous start to last season cost him play-calling duties, the Lions parted ways with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. In his place is Ben Johnson, who was elevated from tight ends coach. Johnson was involved in play-calling duties down the stretch last season, and the Lions’ offense improved as a result.
The Lions had a draft many teams only dream of. They selected hometown kid Aidan Hutchinson second overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Later on, Detroit pulled a shocking trade with the division rival Minnesota Vikings.
This allowed them to select dynamic playmaking wide receiver Jameson Williams 12th overall. Beyond the first round, Detroit found intriguing talents such as safety Kerby Joseph and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez.
For the most part, the Lions kept the band together in free agency. Their biggest free agent acquisition came in the form of former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark. He signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Detroit.
The team will look to improve on their 3-13-1 season in 2021. Here are four bold predictions for the Lions’ 2022 NFL season.
*Watch NFL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
4. Amon-Ra St. Brown eclipses 1,000 yards
If there was any one bright spot you could point to last season, it’d be former fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown. The USC product started slow but turned it on down the stretch as Detroit’s offense improved.
St. Brown ended last season with 912 yards on 90 catches. Both of these marks are franchise bests for a rookie receiver. Furthermore, he caught eight or more passes in six consecutive games to end the season. That, too, is a Lions franchise record.
The Lions certainly found a gem during last year’s draft, and he is only going to get better. St. Brown will be one of the focal points in Detroit’s offense this season. While the Lions improved their wide receiver corps significantly, the USC product is too talented to fall behind the rest.
He should establish himself as a top pass-catching option in the NFL. St. Brown will surpass 1,000 yards in 2022. He will evade the sophomore slump that swallows many a good player whole and lead the Lions’ offense to bigger and better heights.
3. Jared Goff will have a career year
For St. Brown to do that, however, he’ll need to have a good quarterback throwing him the football. He will have good quarterback play supporting him in the 2022 season.
Jared Goff once led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl. The talent required to do that doesn’t just go away. It’s in there somewhere, ready to be unlocked. The Lions have the ability to unlock that talent.
After Johnson became more involved with calling plays last season, Goff’s numbers improved. He threw 11 touchdowns and two interceptions with a 101.2 passer rating after Johnson became involved in the passing game. By comparison, Goff threw eight touchdowns and six interceptions with an 85.4 passer rating under the now-departed Lynn.
Whatever Johnson and head coach Dan Campbell did toward the end of the season worked. With a full training camp and preseason under their belts, Goff will have the best season of his career.
Does this mean he is the long-term answer in Detroit? Not necessarily. It just means Goff won’t be a pushover, and he certainly won’t be a major hindrance to the Lions’ 2022 NFL season.
2. Dan Campbell: Coach of the Year candidate
There may be those within the NFL, and among NFL fans, who don’t take Dan Campbell seriously. That will change in 2022.
Last season’s team, by all rights, had no business winning three games. It looked as if the team was heading toward a winless season after about 11 games. However, Campbell made necessary adjustments, and the team finished 3-5-1 down the stretch with wins over two playoff teams.
He has shown the willingness to make adjustments when needed, and his involvement in play-calling duties corresponded with a tangible improvement from the team.
That, mixed with the team having bought into his message about grit and always fighting no matter what, will make the Lions a successful football team in 2022. And moreover, it will have the league taking notice of Campbell as a head coach.
1. Lions will contend, break other teams’ hearts
The Lions will outperform the expectations of many across the football world. While they won’t make the playoffs, they certainly will contend for a spot and break the hearts of other teams along the way.
There’s a bit of an international example to highlight this. In the 1998-99 German Bundesliga season, Eintracht Frankfurt entered the final matchday needing a five-goal swing to keep them in the top flight.
They got that major swing. Die Adler defeated Kaiserslautern 5-1, and thanks to other results around the league, they avoided the drop. The team that was relegated in their stead? FC Nürnberg, who entered the final matchday sitting 12th in the league table.
There are clear differences here, but the point remains the same. The Lions will be out of the playoff race with a few games remaining in the season. However, they will be right in the thick of it down the stretch. And they will be so competitive that they will be the reason a team who look destined to sneak in misses out entirely.