The NFC North may very well, in fact, be wide open, according to one Pro Football Focus analyst, admitting it’s an unpopular opinion.
In PFF’s too-early power rankings from April 15, the Lions were ranked at 27. Linsey explains that’s largely around where Detroit’s been ranked since by other sports media, such as Around the NFL’s Dan Hanzus slotting them at 30th and Peter King placing them at 26th in a Football Morning in America column.
But Linsey says he’s not so sure about that.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if any of the four teams won the division, and I’m honestly not convinced that the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears have a better roster than Detroit,” he writes.
Linsey goes on to argue that the Lions were competitive while Matthew Stafford was healthy. He breaks down the first nine games with Stafford under center—from the tie, to a few wins, to some questionable officiating.
“This was not your typical three-win team. The Lions were competitive even in their losses with Stafford, pushing two teams that earned first-round byes in Kansas City and Green Bay. Both were games they very well could have won.”
He goes on to discuss how Stafford’s change in offensive mentality could be a key and how the Lions’ offseason additions could make an impact this year, read the rest of his argument here.
And onto the rest of your notes.
- Both wide receiver Kenny Golladay and offensive tackle Taylor Decker’s contracts are up after this upcoming season. What might those deals look like - and will COVID-19 have affected them? The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers takes a look.
- On a recent episode of his podcast Chris Simms Unbuttoned, the former NFL quarterback and current NBC Sports analysts ranked Matthew Stafford the ninth best quarterback entering the 2020. “Disrespected throughout his career. It drives me crazy. One of the greatest arms and throwers in the history of the sport.” 97.1’s Will Burchfield has more.
- A cute Father’s Day video from some dads on the team:
- And a profile from Detroit Free Press’ Carlos Monarrez on Duron Harmon’s experience being a dad, as he welcomed his fourth child on June 10.
- NFL analyst Peter Schrager raved about D’Andre Swift’s potential Monday morning on Good Morning Football, as heard through 247sports.com’s Jaylon Thompson.
- A where-are-they-now on Jeff Backus from detroitlions.com’s Mike O’Hara.