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Lions notes: Detroit named dark-horse candidate to win NFC North

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There’s at least one believer in the Lions headed into 2019.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Earlier in the week, we noted that Power Rankers all over the NFL webiverse had very little faith in the Detroit Lions. Not only did Detroit rank in the bottom half of the league, but many noted just how far behind the rest of the division the Lions currently stand.

But there is at least one voice in defiance of the masses. On Friday, Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt chose the Lions as his dark-horse team to win the NFC North.

“I do think Matt Patricia’s defense will be even better in his second year, but I’m looking at the offense,” Brandt says. “They are building a hammer. They are going to join the NFC North and turn it back to when it was the NFC Central.”

Brand is specifically excited for Kerryon Johnson, who could seriously benefit from a change in offensive philosophy

“I’m telling you guys, Darrell Bevell, a very under-the-radar hire as O.C., this is the guy who’s been the coordinator for Adrian Peterson, for Marshawn Lynch,” Brandt said. “Power running game. Kerryon Johnson is going to be an even bigger thing this year.”

But that’s not only where Brandt is impressed. Detroit’s aerial attack, he believes, will be well-rounded thanks to the first-round selection of T.J. Hockenson.

T.J. Hockenson in the draft, they’ve got Jesse James. They’re going to do that two tight end thing,” Brandt said. “They’ve got Marvin (Jones) and (Kenny) Golladay to do the big plays, (Danny) Amendola underneath.”

And here’s the kicker, Brandt is from Chicago and is a Bears fan.

  • The Lions’ free agent additions now have jersey numbers:

  • On Thursday, the Lions announced that head athletic trainer Kevin Bastin will be stepping away from the NFL later this month. Taking his place will be Dave Granito, who was the Director of Athletic Training for the University of Michigan for the past three years.

  • If you were still holding out hope the Lions would add Zach Brown to their linebacker room, I’ve got some bad news for you:

  • Todd McShay has a 2020 mock which sees the Lions taking Clemson running back Travis Etienne. What’s more noteworthy, however, is that McShay has the Lions picking 23rd overall—based on 2019 standing projections from Football Outsiders. Yep, their prediction model has the Lions as a playoff team in 2019.

  • There hasn’t been a lot of first-year success for first-round tight ends when it comes to tallying receiving yards:

  • Update on Kelly Stafford as she continues to recover from brain surgery: