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Discussion: Are the Detroit Lions true contenders in 2023?

The Detroit Lions put up an elite performance against the Denver Broncos. Are they now, again, considered one of the best teams in the NFL?

Denver Broncos v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Flash back 24 hours ago, and you couldn’t walk a foot in NFL discourse without running into a doubter of the Detroit Lions. With just a 4-3 performance in their last seven—including losses to the Bears and Packers—many wondered if the Lions were due for a one-and-done in the postseason, if they even got there.

But on Saturday night, in front of a national audience in primetime, the Lions got a statement win. The Lions didn’t just beat the Denver Broncos—arguably the hottest team in football—they absolutely dominated them. Detroit took Denver’s revitalized defense and hung 42 on them—the worst total the Broncos have ceded since their disastrous 70-20 loss to the Dolphins three months ago.

Defensively, the Lions got their mojo back, too. Russell Wilson took eight quarterback hits, the Broncos running game was M.I.A. for almost the entire game, and Detroit’s revamped secondary tallied six pass breakups on the day.

In short, it was the full team effort fans had been begging for over the past six weeks.

So now that you’ve seen it again, the Question of the Day is:

Are the Detroit Lions real contenders in 2023?

My answer: [SPACEMAN GUN MEME] They always were.

You’ve heard it time and time again that even the best teams in the NFL go through dry spells or adversity. Plenty had brought up the 49ers’ three-game losing streak this year, and Justin Rogers of the Detroit News did an excellent job showing that it has happened with just about every dominant team over the past three years (subscription required).

We know what this offense is capable of when they’re running on all cylinders—they can hang with anyone. And while the defense certainly has had more downs than ups, they have acutally been on an upward trajectory for the past three weeks now. The pass rush is starting to come alive again, and they’re finding lineups that work in the secondary. Not to mention the return of C.J. Gardner-Johnson is imminent, and it won’t be long before Alim McNeill is back, too—and possibly James Houston.

Will this team make a deep run for the Super Bowl? It’s far too early to tell. But they’re almost certainly going to win the division, and who knows what happens when the Lions host a playoff game in a month. I think Detroit proved on Saturday night they will be able to hang with just about anyone, and in a single-elimination playoff tournament, that makes them contenders.

What do you think? Scroll down to the comment section and sound off.

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