With their first NFC North matchup of 2019 on deck, the Detroit Lions must show that they can hang with their rivals in the NFL’s best division.
They’ve withstood a nasty opening four-week salvo, are getting healthier, and have a great opportunity to challenge for their first-ever NFC North title in 2019. Still, the Detroit Lions have a long way to go in a brutal division.
Prior to the beginning of 2019, the NFC North was heralded by many as the strongest division in the NFL. After five weeks, that prognosis has held true; it’s currently the only division where each squad has a plus-.500 record.
In fact, had the Lions held on to beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 and avoided a disappointing tie, it would be the only division where everyone has at least three wins. It’s a tough, no-holds-barred (well, holding is barred) group and there will be little respite all season. It’s hard to see any team in the NFC reaching the postseason with less than ten wins.
While the Lions are clearly improved from a year ago, the rest of their division is no joke. The Chicago Bears, despite their issues at quarterback, have the second-best scoring defense in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings have a punishing rushing offense led by star tailback Dalvin Cook. And not to be outdone, the Green Bay Packers have an improved defense, tied for second in the league with seven interceptions. They also have some guy named Aaron Rodgers under center.
If the season were to end today (we should probably do away with that aphorism), the Lions would qualify for the postseason as the sixth seed in the NFC. Staying in the playoff hunt will mean navigating their rough division. How do they stack up against those teams?
The Lions rank favorably in several categories when compared to the rest of their divisional counterparts. They lead the division averaging just over 400 yards per game on offense, average the most passing yards per game and are picking up the most third downs per contest.
Defensively, it’s been a different story for Detroit. They are by far giving up the most points per game among the four teams, as well as the most passing yards and the second-most rushing yards. These marks must improve if the Lions intend on remaining in the hunt for a division crown.
Overall, it’s shaping up to be a well-balanced, highly-competitive division, one in which the Lions cannot afford any slippage. When the Lions face the 4-1 Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 14th, it will mark their first game this season against an NFC North foe. We’ll get a much better idea of where they stand amongst their divisional peers when they march out onto the tundra next Monday.
How do you think the Lions stack up against the rest of the division? Let us know in the comments section below.