The last time the Detroit Lions won their division was 1991, when they went 12-4, walked away with the NFC Central crown, and followed it up with their sole playoff win in the Super Bowl era.
But according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Lions are favorites to put their 32-year division title drought to an end in 2023. That’s right, your Detroit Lions are the 2023 Vegas favorite to win the NFC North.
After you get past the initial shock of just reading those words outright, it makes a lot of sense that Detroit is considered the current division favorite. No NFC North team finished the 2022 season stronger than the Lions... in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a couple teams in the entire NFL who finished stronger than the Lions.
Here’s how each team ranked in several categories from Week 9 to the end of the regular season:
- 8-2 record (fourth)
- +78 point differential (second)
- Fifth in overall DVOA
- Second in offensive EPA
- 21st in defensive EPA
- 5-4 record (t-12th)
- +27 point differential (11th)
- Ninth in DVOA
- Eighth in offensive EPA
- 28th in defensive EPA
- 7-3 record (t-sixth)
- -32 in point differential (23rd)
- 29th in DVOA
- 16th in offensive EPA
- 22nd in defensive EPA
- 0-9 record (32nd)
- -111 in point differential (32nd)
- 31st in DVOA
- 24th in offensive EPA
- 32nd in defensive EPA
It couldn’t be more clear who the best team in the division was by the end of the 2022 season. And while that doesn’t mean the Lions will carry that over into 2023, they are also headed into the offseason with more offseason resources than any other team in the division except for the Bears, who also have by far the longest route to success.
Throw in uncertainty about Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and a Vikings team due for some heavy regression after their ridiculous 11-0 record in one-score games, and the Lions certainly do seem like the logical choice for 2023 NFC North champions right now.