The bye week gives teams a chance to do some self-scouting to find ways to be a better football team than they were before the break. That was the case in Detroit last week with the bye coming right around the midway point of the season for the Lions.
So how can the Lions be a better football team over the final nine games of the season? With a 6-2 record and leading the NFC North by a game and a half that might seem like a tall task, but Lions quarterback Jared Goff thinks there is a lot left on the bone for Detroit's offense over the final nine weeks of the regular season.
"I think there's a lot of meat on the bone, both for offense and defense," Goff said Tuesday. "I'm sure they'd say the same thing that where we feel like maybe the Carolina game was a complete game, but other than that, I don't know if we've really had one.
"And how do we get closer to that as the season comes to an end, and no reason to not start this week and try to put together a complete game this week as well."
Detroit currently has the No. 2 offense in the NFL averaging 390.6 yards per game. Only Miami is averaging more (435.3). Detroit ranks No. 6 in rushing (131.4) and No. 6 in passing (259.3) and they are ninth in points per game (25.0). Not too shabby.
Detroit's offense is just 24th in red zone scoring (48.1 percent), they are middle of the pack in third down conversions at 40.7 percent and amazingly they are the only team in the NFL who hasn't scored a single point in their opening possession of the second half all season. They have been outscored in the third quarter 38-28 this season.
"There's a lot of good to be had, but there's a lot of stuff that we can work on," Goff said. "And I think (head coach Dan Campbell) pointed it out, the red zone, and we'll just continue to take care of the ball better. That's what you're always trying to do and will continue to be points of emphasis."
The Lions are even on the season in turnover differential with 10 giveaways and 10 takeaways. Goff said in the red zone in particular it's just simple execution.
"We know what the answers are and being able to do things a little bit better," he said.
There's also a lot of good that occurred on the offensive side of the ball that Goff and the Lions will try to continue over the final two months of the season. Detroit's 41 plays of 20-plus yards is No. 1 in the league. To put that number in a little bit of perspective, the league average is 29 such plays.
View photos from the Detroit Lions practice on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.
Detroit is third in scoring outside of the red zone (78 points), their 17 drives that took off over five-plus minutes on the clock is third best in the league and they are fifth in yards after catch.
It's been a very good offensive performance over the first eight games of the season, minus the dud in Baltimore. After a bye week deep dive it's scary to think how good this offense can be moving forward if they improve a few things and stay healthy coming out of the bye week.