The Detroit Lions are certainly heading into 2023 with high expectations. They’re favorites to win the division for the first time in 30 years, and many believe this team could make a huge impact on the postseason, as well. Finishing the 2022 season with a 8-2 run and upgrading almost every position in the offseason will do that.
However, one analyst is setting the bar even higher than most Lions fans are.
In Peter King’s latest “Football Morning in America” column, he power ranked all 32 teams, and the Lions found themselves just outside the top-five in King’s third tier. His first tier is just the Philadelphia Eagles on their own. The second tier, entitled “They’ve got Super Bowl vibes,” include the Chiefs, Bengals, 49ers, and Bills.
That’s it. That’s all that is in front of the Lions. Detroit falls in King’s third tier (“They’re on the border) at sixth overall. The sixth best team in the NFL right now.
“Loved ‘em with their 8-2 record after Halloween. I still find myself smitten with the Lions,” King wrote.
He then follows that up with a curious criticism of the team.
“The Lions took what wasn’t broken and tried to fix it,” King wrote. “Jamaal Williams/D’Andre Swift last year: 1,608 rushing yards, 4.5 per rush, 22 rushing touchdowns. Now both are gone. That’s pressure on Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery, particularly when the head coach is a big-time running guy.”
Critiquing a team for getting better and younger at a position is strange enough. But King also omits that the Lions really tried to bring Williams back, and Swift had become completely unreliable due to the constant nagging injuries.
But that’s beside the point.
The Lions are certainly one of the more common selections to be a breakout team this upcoming season, but King’s rankings are certainly a bit of an outlier. NFL.com’s post-draft power rankings have Detroit 11th, CBS has them 11th, USA Today has the Lions 10th, and PFF has them 15th.