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Megatron is Gone but Lions Won't Roll Over in 2016

Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions NFL

While the great wide receiver Calvin Johnson hung up his pads and retired at the age of 30, it might not be as disastrous in Detroit as one might think.

I mean, this team isn’t going to win the Super Bowl or anything, but while they began the 2015 season with a 1-7 SU (and ATS) record, they finished it going 6-2 SU (and ATS). One of the keys to that transformation in the second half was the appointment of Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator. The offense thrived under Cooter’s guidance and a full season is full of promise and excitement.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford looked all-world with Cooter coaching the offense. The 28-year-old threw 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the second half under Cooter compared to 13 TD’s and 11 picks in the first half under Joe Lombardi.

You can’t replace Megatron, that much is true, but while many folks expect the Lions to fall flat on their faces, there is a faint flicker of hope in the distance. That flicker may not exactly translate into cashed futures bets, but the Lions could be a team to back week in, week out in 2016.

Here’s a look at their odds for the upcoming season:

Super Bowl +6600

For all of you soccer followers out there, you’ll know that Leicester City recently won the Premier League title as a 5000/1 longshot. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should run out and lay a wager on the Lions to win the Super Bowl today, but for those Detroit diehards that back the team every year, you can hang your hat on that little nugget.

What you can't hang your hat on is the fact that the last time the Lions won a league title was the same year that the brilliant film 12 Angry Men hit theaters. Yup. 1957.

NFC North +1000

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are both better than this team so that’s going against you. Still, an injury here and there to key personnel on either of those two teams opens the door for the Lions. I do like them to finish ahead of the Bears in the standings and considering how well they played in the second half last year, don’t think this team won’t be competitive. Furthermore, they did go 3-3 SU against fellow NFC North squads last year.

Still, they’ve never won the NFC North and their last division crown came in the old NFC Central back in 1993.

OVER/UNDER Win Total 7

This team has won at least seven games in each of the last three seasons but eclipsed that mark just once when it won 11 games in 2014.

The schedule isn’t a particularly strong one as it ranks just 27th in terms of difficulty. Teams the Lions will face this season combined for a record of 119-137 in 2015. They get to feast on the AFC South and NFC East this year; two fairly weak divisions.

By all accounts, the Lions are having fun in training camp and are quite excited about what Cooter will bring to the table for a full 16-game schedule.

This young Lions team won’t pull a Simba and rise to the top in 2016, but it’s not going to be all Mufasa this year either. This is a team I expect that the books could leave exposed based on Megatron retiring and the ho-hum 7-9 record.

Jim Caldwell to win NFL Coach of the Year +6600

It’s quite rare for someone to win Coach of the Year and not win at least 10 games. In fact, it’s happened just once since 1991 and that was Bruce Arians in 2012 after he took over in Indianapolis following Chuck Pagano’s leukemia diagnosis.

If you think this team is going to put up 10 wins, take this wager. The schedule is weak and expectations are low since folks aren’t giving this team a snowflake’s chance in hell without Calvin Johnson. If Detroit puts together a 10-6 record (at least), Caldwell will be in line for this award.

2016 Detroit Lions Futures Odds
Super Bowl+6600
NFC Championship+3300
NFC North+1000
Win Total7

Odds as of August 25 at Bovada