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Notes: National experts are getting excited about the Detroit Lions

They will learn to live with disappointment like the rest of us

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In case you missed it, the Detroit Lions are quietly gaining believers among national analysts for some reason. Is it possible that after years of overlooking the Lions, experts from outside the market are enthusiastic about the team’s prospects when its own fanbase feels down?

They all appear to genuinely believe the preseason hype, but the newfound feeling of optimism for the Lions has also turned into something of a running gag on social media among those who are active on the platforms. A lot of it began a little over a week ago with ESPN’s Mina Kimes:

She was soon joined by NFL Network’s Marc Sessler, who felt the Lions would make the playoffs, and former Detroit lineman-turned-analyst Geoff Schwartz picking the Lions to go worst-to-first, among others. This spawned a spontaneous misery party drowning in anti-Kool-Aid on Lions Twitter:

But today a new initiate into the faithful appeared (almost?). The Athletic’s Robert Mays, on reviewing pre-injury 2019 Matthew Stafford tape, was enthralled. There was “so much stuff happening” and “the Lions’ offense was genuinely thrilling before he got hurt.” Schwartz pounced:

The regular season is still a ways off, but it sure looks like many national experts are viewing Detroit a lot differently than being a flaming pile of trash. The true believers may be nuts, but it is going to make for a heck of a fun ride the next few weeks before reality sets in.

And now, on to the rest of your Notes for today:

  • Newly-signed defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins has a heck of a backstory. Keith Sargeant with NJ Advance Media has the full story, posted a few years ago while Wilkins was at Rutgers (Hat tip to @sahyder1)

  • MLive’s Ben Raven wrote about rookie Logan Stenberg’s foray into snapping the ball during training camp, as did Justin Rogers from the Detroit News on Thursday. Although Beau Benzschawel’s return on day 7 of camp allowed Stenberg to move back to left guard, the backup center job is something we’re keeping an eye on.

  • This looks like it would be very cool (subscription required):

“What happened was, my birthday was in February,” Okudah said. “So for five or six years, maybe even longer than that, every time it’s my birthday I would just ask my dad, ‘Can I get the Madden when it comes out in August?’

“So I would have to wait six months to redeem my own birthday present.”

  • The Lions are in the 25th spot in the latest ESPN preseason power rankings. The article includes a selection by their beat writer for one or two people on the hot seat. Rothstein’s selections are exactly who you think they should be.

  • Did we mention there’s some Lions hype going among the national experts? Check out prediction number 10 in Pro Football Focus’ bold predictions article.