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The Detroit Lions bandwagon is filling up

After a strong finish to 2022 and an active week of free agency, national pundits are starting to fall in love with the Detroit Lions.

NFL: DEC 04 Jaguars at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Detroit Lions Kool-Aid is apparently both addicting and contagious.

Lions fans have been thrilled with the direction of the team ever since the end of the 2022 season. An 8-2 finish to the year capped by a nationally-televised win in Green Bay to both end the Aaron Rodgers NFC North era and prevent the Packers from making the postseason isn’t quite a playoff win for this franchise, but it doesn’t feel that far off.

Optimism during the offseason is a tradition for Detroit Lions fans. For the past few decades, that’s really been the only time we’ve been able to be optimistic. But this year, that optimism has seeped into the national conversation. If the Vegas odds weren’t evidence enough of the belief in the Lions, perhaps the cavalcade of national pundits who professed their love for the team this week will convince you. Let’s take a look.

First up is Kay Adams, formerly of “Good Morning Football,” now the host of her own show “Up & Adams.” She straight up told people who people who made fun of the Lions in the past that, “You can’t say that anymore, you losers.” Check out her amazing rant here:

Next up, Adams’ former co-host over at “Good Morning Football” Kyle Brandt stepped up to the virtual podium and declared his love for the Detroit Lions. Like most things Kyle Brandt, he turns up the intensity to 11.

What’s striking about both Brandt’s and Adams’ professed belief in the Detroit Lions is that both of them grew up Chicago Bears fans.

Now taking a seat at the Lions table: University of Michigan alumnus Rich Eisen. He decisively declared the Lions will host a playoff game this upcoming season.

“I’m calling it. Home playoff game, Detroit Lions for the 2023 season. Done.”

ESPN’s Marcus Spears is on board, too:

“This is the first time in a minute that I’ve thought the Detroit Lions—outside when (Jim) Caldwell was there—they have a clear plan, a legitimate way that they want to go about playing football. They want to be physical. This is a team that plays with a lot of energy. Aaron Glenn and obviously the head coach Dan Campbell has done a phenomenal job at changing the ecosystem and changing the way that these guys think about the Detroit Lions within their own building.”

Frank Schwab listed the Lions as the primary “winners” of free agency, and argued Detroit is now considered a desirable landing spot for players.

They were the hottest and probably the best team to not make the playoffs. A win over the Green Bay Packers in the regular-season finale gave them momentum into the winter and spring. They had draft capital and plenty of salary cap space for free agency. It looked like an enticing situation for free agents.

But you need to land the right players. And it’s not like Detroit has been a major destination for free agents.

Something is brewing with the Lions. It’s a place players want to be. Give credit to head coach Dan Campbell (and maybe “Hard Knocks”) for that.

Even local writer Kyle Meinke of MLive believes the Lions have positioned themselves to make a strike... right now.

If it wasn’t (clear) before, it is now. The rebuilding phase of the rebuild is over. Holmes has spent good money to bring in bonafide players who are ready to win, and now Detroit is too.

This is far from the first time the Lions have had a surging amount of national attention. Even last year, analysts were falling in love with the Lions after an exciting offseason and successful draft. The extra attention from “Hard Knocks” helped, too.

But I’m not sure I’ve seen this kind of intensity from the national pundits before, and maybe—just maybe—it’s because this time is different. This time it’s based not only on offseason moves that may or may not pan out, but also based on a team that finished 8-2 last year and still has a ton of draft resources to use in April. We’re not just talking about projection, but some real, tangible results that have already been produced in Detroit.

Like last year, the Lions will likely say they aren’t going to let the national attention get to them. But this is only March. After the Lions take their swings in the draft, the noise is only going to get louder. Get your spot on the bandwagon before the seats fill up.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.