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Lions mailbag: Which NFC North team is the biggest threat to Detroit?

Which NFC North team poses the biggest. challenge to the Detroit Lions for the division title? Our podcast crew debates.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

On this week’s Twitter Spaces call-in show, we had a first. We took a call from a Green Bay Packers fan who came in peace. He agreed that the Detroit Lions are the team to beat in the division, but he wanted to know who our panel—myself, Ryan Mathews, and Erik Schlitt—thought was their biggest threat in the NFC North.

If we were to go based solely on Vegas odds—via DraftKings Sportsbook—the Vikings (+250) have the second-best chances to win the division, followed by the Bears (+425) and Packers (+475).

However, a few of us believe it’s actually the Packers who pose the biggest threat.

“While I think the Lions are better, the Packers have been the team I’ve said is going to give them their biggest challenge,” Schlitt said. “Because of the fact that, as a team, they’re the most balanced. They have a good defense that has good balance across the positions. Offense is the biggest question mark for me with the Packers and can they take that next step? But their defense, I think, is what’s going to separate them from the other two teams in the division who both have questionable defenses.”

Mathews warns not to count out the Bears completely.

“I at least want to say that I feel like they have maybe the highest ceiling,” he said. “Not in the division. I think that still belongs to the Lions. But, generally, you do say the team that has the best quarterback probably has the highest ceiling. This is make-or-break-it season for Justin Fields.”

Personally, though, I think the Packers are a much better team than people are giving them credit for—and much of that goes back to their performance at the end of last year, much like the Lions.

“They got on a roll toward the end of the season. They started putting things together, and it wasn’t about Aaron Rodgers fixing everything,” I said. “It was about returning to the run game, playing good defense, and they were playing like a top-10 football team down the stretch.

That whole conversation begins around the 30:40 mark of the show. Here are the other topics on this week’s show:

  • Will Brad Holmes’ team building strategy evolve close to “F Them Picks” now that the roster is in a better place? (5:00)
  • What would Dan Campbell’s wrestling finishing move be—and who would make for his best tag-team partner? (15:30)
  • What will the roles for Brock Wright and James Mitchell be this year? (20:45)
  • Could Brodric Martin help defend the Eagles’ “rugby push” play? (42:25)
  • Will Hendon Hooker play in the preseason or practice in training camp? (51:00)
  • Which 2023 NFL Draft picks were most likely to fit Dan Campbell’s grittiness test? (1:00:45)
  • What would a hometown discount look like for Jared Goff and would he actually do it? (1:10:40)
  • If every one of these players lived up to their full potential, but you could only choose one to re-sign, who would it be: Jameson Williams vs. Amon-Ra St. Brown? Jack Campbell vs. Malcolm Rodriguez? Aidan Hutchinson vs. James Houston? (1:20:30)
  • Are the Seahawks a growing rivalry? Erik breaks out a motivational speech (1:34:10)

Listen to the entire show below:

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