4. Detroit Lions
Total defense: 10th
Passing defense: 8th
Rushing defense: 10th
Points per game: 16th
Player to watch
Aiming to improve their pass rush this offseason, the Detroit Lions signed Trey Flowers to a huge deal worth $90 million over five years. Flowers had 21 sacks over the past three seasons with the New England Patriots.
For the Lions defense to reach the next level, the pass rush needs to improve, especially after letting Ezekiel Ansah walk in free agency. Flowers can be the player to help provide consistent pass rush up front in Matt Patricia’s defense.
It feels a little unfair to put the Lions in last place as their defense has a lot of potential. Along with Flowers, the team has an impressive defensive line featuring Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson and Da’Shawn Hand, who made the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2018.
Depth in the secondary is perhaps the only real concern on defense, but they are led by star cornerback Darius Slay, who has been to back-to-back Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017.
Overall, the Lions defense has the talent to be very good in head coach Patricia’s second season. And the fact they are fourth in these rankings highlights the defensive talent there is in the NFC North this year.
If the Lions are playoff contenders in 2019, the defense will be a major reason why.