The 2022 Detroit Lions were something special. Something entertaining. Something we hadn’t seen from the city of Detroit in a long time. They were filled with passion and grit. Here are my top five reasons why I think the Detroit Lions will win their division in 2023-24.
1. They have an incredibly young roster
At the average age of just 25 years old, the Lions easily have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. They don’t play like they’re young either. One of the best parts of the whole season was the surprising amount of productivity the Lions got from their rookies. Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph, Malcolm “Rodrigo” Rodriguez, and James Houston all made a noticeable impact when they were on the field. Jameson Williams and James Mitchell didn’t show as much, but they certainly flashed potential in some games. It will be exciting to see what they can do next season.
2. They have an explosive offense
In 2022, the Detroit Lions had the 5th best offense in the league by DVOA. Jared Goff proved to be a serious franchise quarterback, and he enjoyed the likes of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, DJ Chark, and Josh Reynolds all season long. Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift dominated the backfield. The tight end play was very efficient, despite the loss of TJ Hockenson mid-season. The offensive line also proved to be one of the best in the NFL when healthy. Add in the exciting news that Ben Johnson is staying with the Lions, and I think this talented group will keep giving opposing defenses nightmares.
3. They’ve built a culture
There is no denying the fact that the culture is much different here in Detroit than it has been in previous years. There is a sense of comradery and fun that floats around the locker room and at practice. Players are playing hard for Dan Campbell, and they are fully buying in to what he is selling. The Detroit Lions are on a significant upward trend. Not only will a lot of the current players want to stay, but you will also see some free agents want to come to Detroit this offseason. Everyone wants to be a part of something special, and this is the perfect time to be in that group.
4. They have a lot of resources this offseason
The Detroit Lions have a lot of firepower going into this offseason. They currently have eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, with two first-rounders and two second-rounders. The Lions also currently have about $16M available in cap space, and can add over $20M more. Brad Holmes is a very impressive GM, and he has an eye for snagging talent that others might miss. The Detroit Lions already have a solid group of talent going into 2023, and, when you add some additions of on top of that, it’s certainly a great reason for optimism.
5. The NFC North is wide open
The Detroit Lions finished their season with a 9-8 record and ranked 2nd in the division. The Vikings may have had a better record than the Lions, but they were quite a few games where they certainly did not play like a 13-4 team. The Packers are still trying to find their stride without Davante Adams. They also might be without their key player, Aaron Rodgers, next season. The Vikings and Packers are currently each about $20M over the salary cap. The Bears have the most cap space in the NFL at almost $100M. It will be interesting to see what they do with that cap space this offseason, but I think they still have a lot of work to do. I believe the Lions are the closest of all four teams in their division to being a true playoff competitor next season.
The Detroit Lions are on the right track headed into next season. They still have the free agency and draft coming soon, and, as of right now, they have a very solid roster with playmakers at every position. The players are buying in, the fans are buying in, and even the media is buying in for the first time in a long time. Detroit has found a special duo with Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes, and with enough work, I think they could be the guys who bring the first Lombardi to the city of Detroit.