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TWENTYMAN: 5 numbers to keep up

The Detroit Lions did some good things in 2016. They made the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. They were an all-or-nothing Week 17 game away from a division title, though they came up a bit short in that contest at home to Green Bay (31-24).

Quarterback Matthew Stafford set an NFL record by recording eight fourth-quarter comeback wins.

The season certainly didn't end the way the team had hoped with a playoff loss in Seattle, but there are some things to build on.

We've already looked at five numbers that need to change for the Lions to be better in 2017. Now let's look at some numbers to keep up.

Number: 15

What it means: Total number of turnovers committed by Lions in 2016

NFL rank: 5th (tied)

Twentyman: This was a big improvement from the previous year when they had 24.

Stafford threw 24 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions for one of the better touchdown-to-interception ratios in the league.

Detroit fumbled away the football just five times total. Only Pittsburgh (3) and Atlanta (4) had fewer.

Opponents scored just 26 points off Lions turnovers last season. That was the second-fewest in the league. The league average was 64.

If the Lions' giveaway totals continue to hover among the league's best in 2017, and the defense can increase the number of takeaways they generate (Detroit had just 14 takeaways last season), they'll have a chance to win more games.

Turnover differential is one of the most consistent statistics this league produces every season that shows the difference between winning and losing football teams.

Number: 2

What it means: The Lions finished second in Rick Gosselin's special teams rankings

NFL rank: 2

Twentyman: Gosselin's rankings are based on how teams perform in 22 categories related to kicking, punting, protection and coverage.

The Lions finished in the top 10 in 12 of the 22 categories.

It shouldn't be understated how import special teams were to the Lions' success last season. Punter Sam Martin and kicker Matt Prater are two of the best in the league at what they do.

Players like Johnson Bademosi, Don Carey and Miles Killebrew are terrific cover men. Detroit's punt and kickoff coverage teams yielded a total of just 704 return yards last season, the lowest total allowed by the team since 1941.

Number: 33

What it means: Points scored on drives started at two minutes left in the half or less

NFL rank: 4th

Twentyman: Ideally, the Lions would like to have comfortable leads and be handing the ball off or kneeling at the end of a half, particularly the second half, but that's simply not the nature of this league with the parity we see from week to week.

Detroit employs one of the deadliest late-game quarterbacks this league has, which is an asset for head coach Jim Caldwell.

Stafford isn't afraid to make any throw in these situations, which is why he's so good here. He tossed three touchdowns in the final minutes of a half last season, and Prater was a perfect 4-for-4 on his field-goal attempts.

The NFL average was 18 points scored in the final two minutes of the half.

Number: 42.6%

What it means: Third down conversion percentage

NFL rank: 8th

Twentyman: Being able to convert on third down is a big indicator of overall offensive success in this league.

Stafford and Co. were particularly good when it came to converting on 3rd and 10 and longer situations. They converted those an impressive 30.9 percent of the time, which is nearly double the NFL average of 20.5 percent.

Number: 2,228

What it means: Yards after catch racked up by Lions pass catchers in 2016

NFL rank: 4th

Twentyman: The Lions have been among the leaders in this statistic ever since Theo Riddick and Golden Tate became mainstays in the offense.

Tate led all receivers with 635 yards after the catch last season. Riddick was third in the NFL in 2015 with 645.

Receiver Marvin Jones Jr. has made a concerted effort this offseason to increase his lower body strength and route running to make YAC more of a weapon in his game.

Tight end Eric Ebron has the physical tools to be among the leaders in this category for tight ends.

Then there's Ameer Abdullah, who brings a similar element to the passing game as Riddick out of the backfield.

If everything goes well, the Lions should be up at the top of this category again in 2017, potentially even leading it.

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