Offseason status reports for the Detroit Lions’ divisional opponents
SideLion Report examines the current state of the Detroit Lions’ three divisional foes and looks ahead to changes that may be in store for each of them this offseason.
It’s often said that a starting quarterback in the NFL is the most important position in North American professional sports. The way that the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFC North have invested in their starting pivots in recent years, they clearly subscribe to that adage.
The Lions’ division quite possibly boasts the most talented group of passers out of any in the NFL, and they all get to face each other twice a year. It’s also one of the most expensive. The Lions’ Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings all rank in the top five of highest annual salaries amongst quarterbacks.
Add in the fact that the Chicago Bears have a developing young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, the former second overall pick in 2017, and the importance of the position to the NFC North teams is obvious. You have to dedicate a major portion of your team’s resources to the position in order to have a chance to compete.
In addition to the high profile quarterbacks that the Lions will face within the division in 2019, they will also encounter squads with talented position groups across their respective rosters. Each of those teams, though, will clearly be undergoing their fair share of changes this offseason, as is commonplace for NFL teams that don’t win it all.
The Lions finished in last place in the division last season with a 6-10 record in Matt Patricia’s first year as head coach. Only one NFC North team, the Bears, made the playoffs in 2018, and rest assured that the pressure is on each of the other northern squads to retool their roster in order to give themselves a chance to challenge the Bears for division supremacy.
A 6-10 record simply won’t cut it for the Lions next year. In order for them to have a chance at winning the division for the first time since it was renamed from the NFC Central in 2002, they will need to post a better divisional record than their 2-4 mark last year. They also ought to keep close tabs on what steps the Vikings, Bears and Packers take to improve their teams this offseason.
The Lions will be looking at an uphill fight to win the division let alone make the playoffs next year. Today, we’ll assess what took place with each of the Lions’ divisional rivals in 2018, and possible changes that they may make in preparation for 2019.