The Detroit Lions are for real. As shocking as that may sound to anyone outside the Detroit area, these new, and improved Lions have lived up to the hype thus far. All the offseason talk about the Lions and what they’re building that led into the preseason, which has unfolded over the past six weeks, has been remarkable. The question is no longer whether the Lions are real but how far they can go.
With the 49ers and Eagles falling from the ranks of undefeated on Sunday, the Lions’ victory over the Buccaneers pulled them into a three-way tie atop the NFC at 5-1. While we’re only coming up on the halfway point in a couple of weeks, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that the Lions could snatch the No. 1 seed in the NFC by season’s end.
Detroit’s remaining schedule is favorable even outside of playing the NFC North. Another thing on the Lions’ side is that Philly and San Francisco are nowhere on the schedule. So, the only way we’d see either of those matchups for Detroit would be in the postseason. But the Eagles and Niners play each other in a rematch of last year’s NFC title game on Dec. 3 in Philadelphia. Detroit must keep pace with both teams until one knocks off the other.
For the Lions, it starts on defense, where they have improved across the board, and boast the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, giving up under 65 yards per game. They also rank ninth in points allowed per game (18.8) and seventh in total yards (285.8). The offense has returned to pick up where they left off last season, ranking fourth in the league in ppg (28) and total offense (383.7). Detroit is also fifth in passing (259.5) and ninth in rushing, averaging just over 124 yards per game on the ground.
That sure sounds like a winning formula and looking at the upcoming slate of games for Detroit, they could be on top of the NFC looking down at the rest come December & January. They’ve got Baltimore and Las Vegas before their bye week. Then they return to play LA (Chargers), Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans, Chicago again, Denver, and Minnesota. Detroit closes out the season with Dallas and Minnesota.
Considering this, there’s a good chance the Lions could win 13 games this year, which even the most optimistic fan couldn’t fathom coming into 2023. The Lions have never won more than 12 games in a season, and the last time they accomplished that was in ‘91 behind a young Barry Sanders. Even Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson only achieved 11 wins once (2014), which led to a wild card exit.
But that’s in the past, and it’s time for everyone to wake up, and acknowledge what’s happening in Motown. It’s still a little early to start talking Super Bowl, but it seems this team will be in the mix among NFC hopefuls at the least come January.
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