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Monday open thread: What is the minimum number of games the Lions need to win in 2022?

What is the bare minimum number of games the Detroit Lions need to win to make you feel confident in this team’s direction?

NFL: DEC 19 Cardinals at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The bar might be set low for the 2022 Detroit Lions, but how low is it?

The Lions enter the season with minimal expectations, with many spotting them the worst odds to win the Super Bowl. That’s not necessarily a surprise given the current state of the roster, but the Lions are surely aiming higher than last year’s floundering campaign. Three wins is rarely a recipe for success, and that is a feat Detroit does not wish to repeat. They had their share of close wins and losses—not to mention a tie—so there is opportunity to swing a few wins their way.

Erik and Jeremy ran through the Lions’ schedule back in May, settling in with records of 9-8 and 8-9, respectively. Unlike the 2021 season, where the Lions faced a tough schedule throughout the year, 2022 should give the Lions the edge in a game or two thanks to an easier slate. Should their offensive and defensive changes prove fruitful, then the Lions could very well be in the range of .500 football come January.

However, the best of plans can change in a heartbeat, and predicting a team’s record months in advance often proves spotty at best. Very few people foresaw the Lions defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15, let alone in such a fashion. On the inverse, who predicted that the Philadelphia Eagles or Cincinnati Bengals would completely wallop the Lions, the latter of which would go on a miraculous playoff run to boot? We may have an idea of the winnable and losable games right now, but those games are far from set in stone.

Barring a very fortunate—or unfortunate—season, the Lions will surely win or lose games that were unexpected going into the season. Instead, let’s try to set our minimum expectations.

It has long been acknowledged that the Lions are still in a rebuild and that requires patience. However, there needs to be little victories along the way—whether literal in the standings or morale in the locker room—to justify said patience. What is the bare minimum the Lions need to do to make you feel confident about the team’s direction for the future?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

What is the minimum number of games the Lions need to win in 2022?

My answer: I think the Lions need to win at least six games to instill me with confidence going forward.

The quality of a performance is sometimes just as important as a win or loss. Despite the 2021 record of 3-13-1, the Lions had a fair share of good losses, games in which players showed growth and promise. These types of games are important, but at some point, the team needs to show it on the scoreboard. Moral victories won’t save people’s jobs following another poor season.

If the Lions finish the 2022 season with fewer than six wins, I will likely call the season a disappointment and failure. It is a combination of two factors: the Lions have an easier schedule, and the Lions need to convert potential into realized success.

Schedule-wise, the Lions should very well be competitive with the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers. That alone is seven games worth of winnable matchups. The Lions are unlikely to convert all seven of these, but sprinkle in a surprise win or two, and a win total beyond seven seems feasible. If the Lions fail to reach six wins, not only would it mean a lack of upsets, but it would also mean falling flat in some of their easier affairs.

Fewer than six wins would also mean that this team is not progressing as they should be. There are justifiable reasons for a lowly win total, such as injuries, but after a point, the Lions will run out of excuses. All of the potential within the Lions roster and coaching staff eventually needs to amount to some type of on-field success. A failed 2022 campaign may not close the book on the Dan Campbell era of Lions football, but it would spark questions about the direction of this team.

On the bright side, winning fewer than six games would set up the Lions nicely in the draft, and the addition of a top-tier quarterback prospect could be enough to revitalize the franchise. Yet, despite that ray of light in an otherwise stormy season, I don’t think the Lions can afford to lose so many games. If the Lions win more than six games, I’ll feel more confident in the direction of the team.

Your turn.