Riding a late season hot streak and plenty of offseason hype, are the Detroit Lions real challengers for the NFC crown? It may be bold, but the Lions are firmly in the discussion.
In mid-February, the Lions were sitting fourth in terms of odds to win the NFC, and little has changed in that regard. Post-draft, the Lions are sitting at +1000 odds per DraftKings Sportsbook, still fourth in the conference. The Philadelphia Eagles still sit atop the NFC odds, while the San Francisco 49ers jumped the Dallas Cowboys for second place. Elsewhere in the one thousand range are the Seattle Seahawks (+1100), the New Orleans Saints (+1300), and the Minnesota Vikings (+1500).
Considering the Lions have yet to win a playoff game this century, it’s lofty praise for the franchise and the job they have done to build a competitive team. It also capitalizes on a relatively weak NFC—on paper, at least. Looking closer at the NFC North, the Lions are the favorites to win the division, a feat that has never happened in the history of the division. A home playoff game would be equally enticing to a starved fanbase.
Yet are the Lions truly deserving to be called favorites? Or do you think they sit a bit lower in the NFC’s hierarchy?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Where do the Detroit Lions rank in the NFC?
My answer: I think the Lions are the fourth-best team in the NFC.
I think the odds makers have it about right ranking-wise. The Eagles are the obvious powerhouse in the conference, and are easy favorites to return to the Super Bowl. The 49ers will always be a threat thanks to Kyle Shanahan, regardless of their quarterback (no, Brock Purdy is not an elite quarterback).
I think the Lions are close to the Cowboys, but I have to give Dallas the edge. The Cowboys have one of the most dangerous defenses in the NFL, and despite minimal offseason additions, the offense is still above average. The Lions themselves made some splash moves to bolster their defense, but I can’t call them a top 10 unit yet—that’s the future, not the present.
The Seahawks and Geno Smith surprised many in 2022, and I think 2023 could be a similar solid season. Their offense should see improvement with Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet added in the draft, while Devon Witherspoon will pair excellently with lockdown corner Tariq Woolen. If their front seven can step up, they could push for a top spot in the NFC.
I think the Vikings get my nod for sixth-best in the NFC. This might trouble some Lions fans, but they have always had a knack for eking out wins. You need look no further than 2022, when they put forth one of the ugliest 13-win seasons in NFL history. Among their improbable wins are the largest comeback in NFL history against the Indianapolis Colts and an absurd kneel down fumble touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. While I believe Kirk Cousins is better than most give him credit for, the Vikings are more lucky than good.
For my sixth-best NFC team, that wasn’t much praise, but that speaks towards the rest of the NFC and how poor it looks. I am not a believer in the Saints and new quarterback Derek Carr, while every other team has serious concerns entering the season. I think the Green Bay Packers could outperform expectations if Jordan Love plays well, but that’s a big if. Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Rams could rebound with a healthy Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, but the team is still a shadow of their Super Bowl self.
Are the Lions higher on your NFC power ranking? Vote in the poll below and explain your vote in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Where do the Lions rank in the NFC?
This poll is closed
8th or lower