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TWENTYMAN: 5 numbers that need to change

The Detroit Lions won nine games last year and made their second playoff appearance in the last three seasons.

But simply making the playoffs isn't the goal in the Bob Quinn era. He and this coaching staff have their eyes on a bigger prize, like winning the team's first division title since the early 90s.

There's certainly room for improvement, so here's a look at five numbers that need to change for the Lions to reach some of their goals in 2017.

Number: 81.9

What it means: The Lions averaged 81.9 rushing yards per game in 2016

NFL rank: 30th

Twentyman: This has been an ongoing problem in Detroit for a while now, but especially during the Matthew Stafford era.

The Lions have had a running back reach 100 yards rushing in a game just seven times dating back to 2009. That's a pretty amazing statistic if you think about it.

View the Detroit Lions veteran players' headshots for the 2017 season.

The injury to Ameer Abdullah last season certainly didn't help matters. Abdullah was averaging 5.6 yards per carry before he was injured Week 2, and the Lions had rushed for at least 100 yards as a team in both the games he played last season.

Quinn and Co. have faith that Abdullah and the backs currently on the roster can improve upon these numbers with the additions the team has made upfront along the offensive line.

The acquisitions of T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner are upgrades along that front. The team is also hoping the competition they've fostered at left guard makes whomever comes out on top a much better player there. It's unclear how the loss of left tackle Taylor Decker will affect the run game.

If this team gives Stafford a consistent run game that opponents must respect, it will be fun to see how the passing game could evolve alongside it.

The league average last year for rushing yards in a game was 108.9. If the Lions could reach the average, it would be a major improvement from a year ago.

Number: 106.5

What it means: Opponent passer rating when playing against Lions' defense

NFL rank: 32nd

Twentyman: This was a problem area for the Lions all season long. Two major sticking points in Teryl Austin's defense are to stop the run and not let big plays develop behind them. The Lions weren't too bad in those areas, but the rate at which opponents completed passes and moved down the field via the passing game was way too high and had an effect on the defense.

The NFL average for passer rating allowed by a defense was 89.3. Detroit and the Cleveland Browns were the only teams that allowed opponents to record a passer rating over 100.0 last season.

Making matters worse, when the Lions blitzed, opponent passer rating shot up to 114.4. That also ranked last in the league. When teams entered the red zone, that rating went up to 122.7, also last in the league.

This number is an indictment both on Detroit's inconsistent pass rush last season, and their inability to hold coverage in the back end. The two go hand in hand.

Getting Ziggy Ansah back 100 percent and keeping him relatively close to that number, will help tremendously. Drafting linebacker Jarrad Davis, cornerback Teez Tabor, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and cornerback Jamal Agnew gives them some added speed at the linebacker spot and playmaking ability at cornerback.

The Lions need to rush better and have stickier coverage if this number is going to improve this season.

Number: 6.7%

What it means: Dropped passes percentage on catchable passes

NFL rank: 29th

Twentyman: This statistic reared its ugly head in Detroit's playoff loss in Seattle. The Lions recorded five drops in that 26-6 loss, but really it was a problem all season long.

STATS INC. tallied the Lions' drop total at 28 for the season on 594 attempts. That number is simply too high. Drops are drive killers, and we saw it too many times from Lions pass catchers last season. Tight end Eric Ebron led the way with seven drops on 85 targets for a drop percentage of 8.2 percent.

Concentration and repetition are things these Lions pass catchers must work on heading into this upcoming season if that number is going to drop.

Number: 45.5%

What it means: Opponent third-down conversion rate

NFL rank: 31st

Twentyman: In the last three seasons, the Lions fell from ninth in the league (37.2 percent in 2014) to 24th (41 percent in 2015) to 31st (45.5 percent).

Third down is the money down on defense. Teams that get off the field on third down give their offense more chances to score, and leave a little reserve energy in the tank for the fourth quarter.

Detroit's offense ranked eighth in the NFL converting on third down (42.6 percent). If the defense can get back to being as good as it was just a couple years ago on third down, it will make a big difference in the amount of extra possessions the Lions could have per game.

Again, a more consistent pass rush and better coverage from the back seven will go a long way to improving this number.

It should be noted the Lions ranked third in the NFL at stopping third-and-long attempts. They prevented a first down 86 percent of the time on third and 10 or greater, meaning opponents had just a 14 percent conversion rate. It was the short (73.6 percent conversion rate) and medium (61.9 percent) distances where they really struggled.

Number: 14

What it means: Total takeaways recorded in 2016

NFL rank: 28th (tied)

Twentyman: The Lions ranked in the top five in the NFL by turning the ball over on offense only 15 times last season, but the defense was only able to produce 14 takeaways, which left the Lions with a minus-1 turnover differential, ranking 20th in the NFL.

Detroit had several critical takeaways late in games that spurred them on to victory, but didn't record a single fumble or interception in any of their last five games, including the playoff loss. The team lost four of those five games.

Seven of the top 10 teams in the NFL in turnover differential made the playoffs last season. Kansas City (plus-16), New England (12) and Atlanta (11), were first, third and fourth, respectively. All three won their division and had a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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