So with very little fanfare, the Lions are once again expected to be the bottom feeders of the NFC North. Probably as much for having never won the NFC North title, since it was called the NFC Central the last time they won the division in 1993, as their consistently losing ways.
There’s that name recognition again.
Now if we examine the situation, the same type of lazy journalism makes it easy to say that Chicago Bears have become the Monsters of the Midway again after last seasons defensive display which ranked them as one of the best in the league. The Minnesota Vikings are only a couple seasons removed from almost being the first team to host the Super Bowl and play in it and the Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers, therefore they must be contenders.
The irony is that of all three divisional opponents, the Packer have done to most to re-vamp what has become a porous defense this offseason, but they need to prove it on the field. The Vikings didn’t do enough to really change public opinion. It seems like it’s mostly on the shoulders of Kirk Cousins to turn them around, and the Bears have lost their defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Denver Broncos as their new head coach.
So while the offseason has brought change, I’m not totally sold on the idea that any of the Lions divisional opponents are completely insurmountably above them.
Meanwhile, anyone who has paid any actual attention to the Lions offseason has to admit there has been some tangible progress made by this franchise. Has it made them head and shoulders better than their rivals? I’m not sure we can say that either, but in what should be a very competitive division, the Lions have given themselves every bit as much of a chance as anyone else.