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Saturday open thread: Which NFC North team will be the Detroit Lions’ biggest challenge?

Who will be the toughest team to get through on the way to an NFC North title?

NFL: DEC 29 Packers at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All week, we’ve heard some strangely optimistic takes about the Detroit Lions. They’re the most likely team to go worst-to-first in the division. Matthew Stafford is a dark-horse MVP candidate. Hell, Football Outsiders even went as far as projecting them as the team with the best odds to win the entire division.

But most of these compliments came with one big caveat. Part of the reason people are high on the Lions is because they are low on the entire division. The Green Bay Packers are a team that’s due for big regression from the 13-3 season last year. The Vikings defensive roster was gutted this offseason. And the Bears... well, their quarterback situation is no better than it was last year, and it pretty much starts and ends there.

So if the Lions are truly division favorites—or at least considered contenders by some prediction models==which of the NFC North teams will present the biggest threat?

My answer: It’s still the Green Bay Packers. While their defense is likely due for some regression this year, the strives they made on that side of the ball are still very real. Their pass rush will be something to contend with, and I’m sorry, I’m just not willing to count out Aaron Rodgers right now—even with his limited amount of weapons he has to deal with.

Plus, let’s just say it. The Packers have the Lions’ number. Sure, Detroit seems to play them well as of late, but in a big game, on a big stage, the Lions just have not pulled out a meaningful win against the Packers. This could be the year they get over that proverbial hump, but it won’t be easy. Green Bay still has to be considered Detroit’s biggest threat to their first NFC North crown.

Your turn.

Poll

Who is the Lions’ biggest NFC North challenge?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Packers
    (428 votes)
  • 44%
    Vikings
    (387 votes)
  • 6%
    Bears
    (58 votes)
873 votes total Vote Now