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TWENTYMAN: 5 numbers to keep up

The Detroit Lions ultimately fell one game short of their goal to make the playoffs in 2022, but they showed a lot of good things down the stretch they hope to build off of and pick up where they left off.

Here are five numbers the Lions need to keep up in 2023:

1. Number: 15

What it means: Total giveaways by Detroit's offense last season

NFL rank: 1st

Twentyman: Credit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and quarterback Jared Goff understanding this was an issue holding them back early last year and then making the proper adjustments to make it a strength the second half of the season during their winning streak. Pick sixes in losses to Philadelphia and Seattle and a Goff fumble returned for a touchdown against New England were huge negative impact plays early in the year.

"I think we talked about Jared early on in the season and he had some interceptions that I mean he grimaces at when we watch the tape right now," Johnson said this offseason. "And I think the recognition that, 'hey this is a problem, and we have to get this corrected', all these guys came through. I think any time that we have a problem, just bringing it up and the acknowledgement, 'hey we have to get this fixed. All hands on deck to get this fixed', and we have seen results in every facet that we have touched that way."

Goff went his last 324 passes without throwing an interception last year, which is currently the fifth longest streak in NFL history. Goff was No. 1 in the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio at better than 4-to-1 with 29 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Detroit lost eight fumbles last year, which ranked in the top seven across the league.

2. Number: 77.4

What it means: Opponent passer rating when blitzed

NFL rank: 2nd

Twentyman: Only New Orleans was better in this regard (72.3) last season. Detroit allowed six touchdowns while picking off six passes and sacking opposing quarterbacks 15 times when they blitzed.

This is an important statistic for two reasons. One, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn blitzed the sixth highest percentage in the NFL last season. If that's going to be part of the defensive repertoire, they need to be good at it. Two, when teams blitz to generate pressure, they leave vulnerabilities in the back seven of their defense, so they better get home more often than not or really affect the quarterback.

The Lions have good blitzing linebackers and players in the secondary who have a knack for blitzing, so it will always be part of Glenn's defensive package. The hope is teams continue to have limited success beating it when Glenn decides to bring pressure.

3. Number: 24

What it means: Sacks allowed

NFL rank: 2nd

Twentyman: Only Tampa Bay's 22 sacks allowed were better last season. Detroit has one of the best offensive lines in football and they could potentially be even better in 2023 with the return of right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who missed all of last season with a back injury.

The NFL average last year in sacks allowed was 41. The average among the 14 playoff teams was 36. That's how good Detroit's offensive line was.

4. Number: 66.2

What it means: Detroit's red zone touchdown efficiency

NFL rank: 4th

Twentyman: There are few things more frustrating for coaches than seeing their team fight their way into the opponent red zone only to settle for a field goal. This is an area where Detroit excelled last season. Only Dallas (71.4), Kansas City (69.4) and Philadelphia (67.8) had a better percentage last year punching the ball into the end zone once entering the red zone. The 349 red zone points Detroit scored in 2022 were second only to Kansas City (391).

Johnson is very creative in the red zone, and Goff has shown tremendous command of the offense and is very deliberate in the way he sees space and attacks opponents with not a lot of room to work with. If both the percentage and total points numbers for the Lions' red zone offense remain high in 2023, this should be one of the better scoring teams in the league.

View some of the best photos from Detroit Lions offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp.

5. Number: 13.2

What it means: Punt return average

NFL rank: 2nd

Twentyman: There's a lot to like about what special teams coordinator Dave Fipp has done in Detroit. Kalif Raymond caught 47 passes for 616 yards last season but was also one of the best punt returners in the league. His 13.2 average was second in the NFL and he was one of just three players to return a punt for a touchdown.

Detroit's 26.1 kickoff-return average was the third best in the league. They had a 20-plus return on kickoffs 85.3 percent of the time, which was tops in the league. They also have one of the best punters in the game in Jack Fox and are 6-for-7 converting fake punts over the last two seasons.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell spends a lot of time and resources on special teams and it shows in the numbers.

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