As the 2023 NFL season approaches for fans and Michigan sportsbook apps customers alike, BetMichigan.com analyzed the state of offensive line play around the league from 2022. We created a system to determine which lines produced the most and least value for their team last year based on performance in relation to total salary cap hit.
The Detroit Lions were one of the teams getting good value from the offensive line.
How We Determined Our Rankings
We used Pro-football-reference.com for two statistics: Total number of sacks allowed by each team and the approximate value of each offensive line unit (top 10 offensive line members by games played). For each category we assigned 32 points for the top-ranked team, 31 for the second-best team and so on down to 1 point for the worst team,
Then BetMichigan, your source for real money Michigan sports betting promos, turned to Spotrac.com for the combined salary cap hit from the 2022-23 season for the top 10 offensive line members for each team. This gave us the amount of salary paid per point, which we used to arrive at our 1-32 NFL offensive line units ranking by value.
NFL’s Most Undervalued Offensive Lines
Lions O-Line Among Best For Value
Customers at Michigan betting sites have reason to think that backing the Lions might be a decent idea in 2023, hometown blinders aside.
Detroit concluded last season at 9-8, its best record since 2017, and the offensive line helped fuel a meteoric rise in production. After ranking 22nd in total offense in 2021, the Lions jumped all the way up to third last year, gaining 6,460 total yards. And Detroit was one of three teams to eclipse both 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing.
If that kind of production continues and the defense can improve, the Lions might be good enough to reward backers who can get +130 odds (as of Tuesday morning) on Detroit winning the NFC North by using the BetMGM bonus code Michigan.
Detroit’s offensive line earned 61 of a potential 64 points under our system, tied with Kansas City for the top performing unit in the league. But the Lions outspent the Chiefs by more $10 million for their unit, which was why the Lions fell to ninth in our overall rankings. That is commensurate with Pro Football Focus’s view of Detroit’s line, as the grading service rated them as the NFL’s eighth-best OL unit.
Pass Protection Key For Detroit
Pass protection was key for Detroit as Jared Goff faced pressure on only 19.1% of dropbacks, in the NFL’s bottom third, according to Pro-football-reference. Additionally, Detroit allowed just 24 sacks, the second-fewest in the league behind only Tampa Bay.
The Lions have +2200 odds to win the Super Bowl at BetRivers Sportsbook Michigan.
The Lions finished ninth in run block win rate, per PFF, but fared worse when measured by yards per carry. Detroit ballcarriers gained 4.5 yards per attempt, 15th overall and right at the league average.
Yet the Detroit O-line ranked third in total approximate value at Pro-football-reference, with the group generating 56 points by that metric. Three starting linemen reached double digit approximate value; center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker posted 10 AV seasons and right tackle Penei Sewell had an AV of 13, tied for second on the whole team.
Both Decker and Sewell played 100% of Detroit’s offensive snaps and Ragnow appeared in 94%, but the Lions had to contend with injuries at both guard spots. First string right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai missed the entire season with a back injury after starting 25 games for the team the previous two years. He primarily replaced by Evan Brown, though Brown missed three games himself and starting left guard Jonah Jackson missed four.
Track the Detroit Lions playoff chances all season with us.
Looking Ahead To 2023
Even with Vaitai’s $6.3 million salary cap hit removed from the equation because he did not play last year, Detroit spent more money on offensive linemen than any other team in our top 10. They ranked ninth in total expenditures on their top 10 linemen, with Decker, Ragnow and Sewell each accounting for a cap hit of over $5 million.
Looking ahead to 2023, the Lions should once again field one of the NFL’s best offensive lines because almost all of the unit’s key pieces return. Brown left for Seattle in free agency, but with Vaitai healthy Detroit can plug him back into the starting lineup. However, Graham Glasgow lurks as competition after coming over from the Denver Broncos, where he started 13 games last season.
Stick with BetMichigan for the latest Detroit Lions Super Bowl odds plus more updates as the NFL season gets nearer.