Detroit Lions vs division outlook
Obviously, this is an early conversation and only looks at the teams on paper but no matter what the final standings, the difference between first and last in the NFC North is not sizeable. We could easily make a case for any team to take the division.
That being said, we like the Minnesota Vikings to overtake the Green Bay Packers for the division this year. The Vikes have depth, and quality almost everywhere. After them, second place is between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Both teams have some issues but have made some improvements coming into 2020. We would probably give the edge to the Packers but getting Stafford back and bringing in a few dynamic playmakers say that the Lions have the biggest boom-or-bust potential. They simply need more to go right although they probably have a higher ceiling.
We are not intending to cut the Chicago Bears out of any division discussion as they have the best defense in the division and that cannot be discounted especially as the weather gets colder. They need things to get settled on offense, especially under center, in a hurry. If their line can move some people, create some space for their run game, and have enough chunk plays to keep teams off guard, they could win a bunch of games.
The North is arguably the most competitive division in the NFL, not just the NFC. The Detroit Lions look to have given themselves a chance to compete if the defense can slow teams down from time-to-time. Okudah, Trufant, Shelton, Collins, and Okwara should all help the Detroit defense take a step forward in 2020, much the same as the Packers did in 2019.
While the new parts need time to gel, the offense is what has a chance to be truly special in Motown. The best quarterback in franchise history, surrounded by the best cast of his career, with an offense designed to his strengths, and big playmakers both in the backfield and lined up to catch passes, should net some special results for fans.
While the whole show could flop over defensive lapses or recurring injuries, the Lions are likely to be playing the meaningful games that everyone wants come December. We predict a record near the 9-7 mark and possibly a playoff berth with the improvements made to the roster. It would be shocking to see them win less than five or six games in almost any scenario but also equally difficult to envision a 12-win season or more.
It should be more fun than in 2019.