Metric loss

Another metric shows how badly injuries have impacted the 2021 Detroit Lions

Another metric, this time from Football Outsiders, shows just how badly injured the Detroit Lions were last season.

The Detroit Lions weren’t expected to be good in 2021, so a 3-13-1 finish was par for the course and not so earth-shattering. But they also lost the most games in the league to injuries by starters last season (134), as a thin and generally inexperienced roster was further thinned and somewhat less experienced throughout.

Football Outsiders offers advanced football analytics. They took out their “Lost Adjusted Games” for the 2021 NFL season, similar to the games each team had with injuries last season. It takes into account games missed by players, but it also takes into account injury reports and games where players played less than 100%. A weighted formula for starters, substitutes, situational players, etc. then arrives at a unique number.

Detroit Lions had the third most adjusted games lost in 2021

As expected, six of the 10 healthiest teams by adjusted games lost made the playoffs last year. And on the other end, only two of the 10 most injury-riddled teams made the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens had the most adjusted games lost by far last season, with 191.2. The New York Jets had the second highest number (158.5), then the Lions came in with the third highest number (122.4). It should be noted that more than a quarter of the league, nine teams, had at least 100 adjusted lost games.

Naming a key player for the Lions who didn’t miss at least one game last season is a difficult task (Amon-Ra St. Brown), and in many cases it was multiple missed games. It’s something I’ve noted a few times, but they’ve never had their five starting offensive linemen projected together for a game in 2021. Left tackle Taylor Decker missed the first game of the season due to a hand injury, and at the time he was back center Frank Ragnow was out for the season with a turf toe.

Adjusted game losses were also split between attack and defense for each team. The Lions were also hit on both sides of the ball, with 61.6 AGL in attack and 60.8 AGL in defence. Only one team, the Bengals, had a narrower gap between the two and they had seventh-least AGL overall.

The Lions should be more likely to get injured next season. On that basis alone, doubling their win total from last year would be in the cards.