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2023 Detroit Lions season predictions: Who will win the NFC North?

Predicting whether the Detroit Lions will live up to expectations and win their first division title in three decades.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions, for the first time in my adult lifetime, are in the driver’s seat for the NFC North. There’s not only an opportunity for them to win the division in 2023, there’s an expectation. After three offseasons of rebuilding, the Lions roster looks ripe for serious competition, but this is the NFL. If everything played out the way we all expected it to, we’d be making millions of dollars on sports gambling.

So will the Lions actually win the NFC North in 2023? If not, who? Check out our staff’s predictions below, and vote in the poll at the bottom of the page.

Previously:

Who will win the NFC North?

John Whiticar: Lions

I wanted to go against the grain and say another team, but it really feels like Detroit’s division to lose. If I had to rank their chances, I would go Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, then Chicago. Green Bay is a major question mark with Jordan Love, but they are a talented roster and could threaten if Love excels in 2023. Minnesota had some of the most ridiculous and improbable victories in 2022, so repeating that with a worse roster would be difficult. Chicago has a high ceiling but an equally low floor—they would need a lot to go right to win the division.

Morgan Cannon: Lions

None other than the boys wearing Honolulu Blue and Silver, the Detroit Lions.

Erik Schlitt: Lions

The Lions defense looks for real and if they end up with middle-of-the-league-level production, Detroit should win a lot of close games that they lost in the previous two seasons. Add in the fact that each of the other three teams in the division are rebuilding in one way or another, and it’s no surprise why the Lions should stay the favorites all season.

Chris Perfett: Lions

Lions, but I don’t feel extremely great about it. The NFC North is a godawful division. The Vikings are hoping their defensive adjustments will be worth losing what they did in free agency because a negative point differential at 12 wins last year will be damn hard to replicate. The Packers are betting the board on an average-grade team performing well enough for an unknown quarterback who has yet to see the field in any meaningful matter. The only people who should trust the Bears are losers, frauds, and Chicago sports writers huffing their own supply of toxic paint.

On paper, this looks to be a power vacuum that the Lions can fill. The Lions have many questions on their hands and I would hardly call the roster complete (reliance is still too strong on rookie talent) but with enemies like this, Detroit’s got a good spot.

Kyle Yost: Vikings

Truthfully, I think the Lions have just as good of a roster as the Vikings, but I cannot get myself to pick them to win the division until it actually happens. I do think this team has a real shot at the NFC North this season, but I will go with Minnesota, despite some quite fortunate results last season. Either way, I do not expect the division winner to come out ahead by many games in the standings.

Kellie Rowe: Lions

Your Detroit Lions. All the pieces are there for the Lions, and many pieces are missing for their NFC North rivals. The Bears are a mess, the Packers are adjusting to life without Aaron Rodgers, and while the Vikings will make things competitive, Detroit will still come out on top.

Ryan Mathews: Lions

For the first time in over 30 years–and for the first time in the history of the NFC North–the Detroit Lions will win their division. The Vikings are absolutely due for some serious regression after having 13 wins but a negative point differential (-3), and unless Justin Fields takes an enormous leap this season, the Bears roster still feels a year away from contending for the division. The Packers likely have the best defense in the division, but Jordan Love and their passing offense remains a big enough question mark to consider the Lions the favorites.

Jerry Mallory: Lions

WE will. It’s been a long time coming and things seem to have lined up perfectly for the Lions. Predicted declines for Minnesota and Green Bay, and Chicago is still not ready to contend yet. Meanwhile, Detroit had a strong finish last year, a stellar offseason, and were 5-1 in divisional play last year). It’s time, y’all get ready!

Hamza Baccouche: Lions

It’s hard to see this going any way other than the Lions, barring significant developments. I don’t lose sleep over the hot mess in Chicago, and I haven’t seen enough out of Jordan Love yet to think he’ll take Green Bay any further than one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time could last year. I’m firmly in the camp that people should fear Minnesota in 2024 and beyond, but I did see a solid regression from them this year. Their addition of Brian Flores at DC, however, has significantly accelerated that timeline. Flores is one of the best at what he does, and I think he immediately offers the Vikings a 2-3 win bump over where they entered the offseason with Ed Donatell. I still think the Lions edge the Vikings out for their first NFC North title, but I have the Lions and Vikings 1A and 1B, respectively.

Jeremy Reisman: Lions

I have the order of the NFC North firmly Detroit, Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota. To be honest, the Packers are the only team I think capable of challenging the Lions for the division. It’s too reductionary to say Aaron Rodgers is gone so they’ll suck. Outside of the Lions, they have the best all-around roster with youth galore.

Meanwhile, the Bears could surprise some teams this year if Fields takes the next step, but their defense is horrible up front and dangerously young on the backend. The Vikings were frauds last year, got significantly worse this year, and may sport the worst defensive roster in football in 2023. A two-man team of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson will only take them so far.

Meko Scott: Lions

I’m pretty sure I’d have to send in my resignation papers if I said anyone other than the Lions, right? But in all seriousness, this team feels the most complete when you start to look around the division. Now admittedly the Lions may not have the best WRs, the most physically gifted QB, or the longest history of success on their side, but they have more than enough to help them lead this division in win totals. Last season, they came one game short of sweeping the division, and that was with a defense that came on late in the year. I expect with the upgrades across the board for the home team and some key losses to our division rivals that the Lions will sit as the true kings of the North this season.

Brandon Knapp: Lions

The Lions have the best roster in the NFC North from top to bottom. Green Bay will take a step back with Jordan Love at quarterback and they will have to rely on the run more often than they used to as Love doesn’t have the playmaking ability that Aaron Rodgers had. Their defense is tough, but overall they aren’t as well-rounded as the Lions. Minnesota is facing a rebuild here soon with lots of players costing them more and more money. T.J. Hockenson got paid, and Justin Jefferson will need to get paid or let go. Chicago could be on the rise, but we will have to see if the changes they made this offseason can turn into results for the team.

Poll

Who wins the NFC North in 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Lions
    (1497 votes)
  • 6%
    Vikings
    (108 votes)
  • 5%
    Packers
    (99 votes)
  • 2%
    Bears
    (40 votes)
1744 votes total Vote Now

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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.