Getty Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers during the 2021 Packers game.
The Detroit Lions may not be long before they become serious contenders in their own division, although some people believe the team is still a few years away.
Detroit has been quietly building its roster for 2022, and that combined with the team’s schedule could make the Lions a contender for the Black Horses to win the NFC North. This is something a lot of people are starting to realize at this point in the off-season.
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Analyst Warren Sharp explained on an episode of The Ringer of the Bill Simmons Podcast that The Lions are an interesting team for the NFC North surprise candidate. Logic? The team’s schedule may give them an advantage, and they may wait to take advantage of obstacles others face.
“I think an interesting team though as this is going to be a very long opportunity and they basically need something to break down with the Packers early schedule here and it could be the Detroit Lions coming out of nowhere,” Sharp said. “We know I really like their comfort feature, they also have the easier fifth table depending on who they play against this season. I think with the Lions you want to make it big with these guys. Either you don’t want to support them or you want to support them to have a real turning season.
Another big reason Sharp believes in black? Quarterback Jared Goff, who might surprise some people with his play, especially given his enhanced offensive line going forward.
“With proper training and a well-balanced match, his stats are good. They have added a lot of pieces around him and one of the most important things for a midfielder, especially the ones we don’t like, is a good offensive line and good protection. That’s one of the things they really have there,” Sharpe said of Gauff.
Detroit, of course, hasn’t won a league title in nearly 30 years, most recently in 1994. As a result, it’s hard to be someone optimistic that the team will win. While that is the case, there may be good reason to believe that Detroit is a team to watch in the end.
How the Packers’ Lack of Attacking Depth Can Help Detroit As Simmons explained, the Lions could have an advantage to win the division since the Packers have a small margin of error. The team has traded Davante Adams extensively and could languish in the middle in terms of elite players. This creates a situation where others can come under pressure to stay healthy, and if a team suffers an injury, it becomes a disaster that severely damages the team’s splitting chances.
“It’s like, ‘What if Aaron Jones pulls a Hammer in week two? What other weapon (they have them) do I trust?” Simmons said.
Sharp agreed, citing a scenario where the Packers could struggle to attack.
“Without Davante Adams, the key is that Aaron Rodgers had a lot of advantages when he passed the ball. The defense should outperform Davante. Now that you’ve eliminated Vomte and have a small, less experienced wide receiver that you drafted in the second round, he’s been asked to do Good job for you,” he said. “If the wide receivers aren’t on the same side with Aaron Rodgers early in the season or during the holiday season, we know these quarterbacks don’t like to play in the off-season, how long will it take for them to bond?” What happens if the team doesn’t really take off? “
Sharp admits it’s hard to bet the Packers, but the scenario he’s describing could certainly be something that will come up during the season. If so, the lions in the wings might be waiting to take advantage of them quickly.
Why the Lions can compete in the NFC North
Despite scoring 3-13-1 in 2021, the Lions were not far from suffering as the team lost countless silly late field goals and through other strange coincidences. If that luck happens a bit, the Lions should be able to double their overall victories to six or seven games in 2022, making them one of the most improved teams in the league. Its rivals barely outperformed Detroit last year. The Lions went 2-4 against the NFC North and scored surprising wins in the second half at the expense of the Vikings and Packers. Detroit’s four losses in the division totaled 32 points and included two two-point losses each for the Bears and Vikings. Detroit also held the first-half lead at Green Bay during the second week of prime time but failed to finish.
Although it’s not something you’d expect, if the Lions turn around in some of these games and find a way to win some others, they may have a winning record against their rivals and become a true contender for the dark side of the division. This is especially true when their competitors are slack and struggling themselves.
If this happens to the Green Bay, the best rated dog ever, the Lions could be a team going forward and capitalizing on it. This is an outcome people can certainly dream of at this point in the off-season.
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