How much does dancing help a football team win? We’ll see this year as rookie Aidan Hutchinson (and his dance moves recently revealed on the NFL’s preseason reality show Hard Knocks) tries to help the Detroit Lions get to respectability.
But could there be more success on the horizon for one of the longest-suffering franchises in pro football? The NFC North doesn’t have a dominant team, and some experts think in season two under coach Dan Campbell the Lions could be a sleeper. Not as snoozing, but as “don’t sleep on them.” Could Detroit win the division?
What are the best odds for an NFC North championship for the Detroit Lions?
Detroit Lions NFC North Odds
Here are the odds to win the division title at three of the biggest Michigan online sportsbooks.
|Green Bay Packers||+110||+115||+115|
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Regular Season Update
Week 1 of the 2022 season looked a lot like much of the 2021 season — a solid effort in a loss. The Lions closed as 5.5-point home underdogs to the Philadelphia Eagles but rallied late before losing 38-35. Detroit fell behind by 17 points twice in the third quarter but rallied to score two touchdowns in the fourth to cover the spread.
RB D’Andre Swift was great, and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown was once again pretty good. QB Jared Goff was a tad underwhelming.
Detroit will stay at home for its Week 2 game against the Washington Commanders, who opened with a home win over Jacksonville in Week 1. The Lions are 1.5-point favorites for Sunday’s game at Ford Field.
Detroit Lions Schedule
If there’s something to be optimistic about for the 2022 Lions, it’s the fact that three of their first four games will be played at Ford Field. But then again, the bye week comes early for Detroit — after the Oct. 9 game.
The Lions have five games scheduled against playoff teams from a year ago, but no one can be sure how the NFC North will play out each year. The Packers are back with many of the same cast of characters, and the Bears seem as mediocre as Detroit, maybe more so. The Lions have five of their eight division games after the bye, with the Bears and Packers finishing off the schedule.
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Improvement Needed on Defensive Side for Lions
When he was a player, Campbell was all those cliché things people say about football players: tough, hard-nosed, gritty, “would run through a wall,” and so on. As a head coach, Campbell has carried that reputation with him. Famously, in his introductory press conference, he explained that under his guidance, the Lions would “bite a kneecap off” to get a win.
No word yet on the KBOs from the 2022 season (Kneecaps Bitten Off), but the team did display a spirited camaraderie last season, even as it floundered and waited until December to win a game.
To make progress from last season’s three wins (and a tie), Campbell & Co. must patch the defensive holes. In 2021, the Lions ranked next-to-last in the NFL in points allowed. The defense was especially poor at stopping the run. Opponents ran for 2,296 yards — the fifth-most in the NFL. The Detroit defense forced 19 turnovers, a figure that ranked in the bottom third.
Hutchinson will give the Lions a formidable presence on the edge as a pass rusher. The former Michigan Wolverine is athletic enough to present a real challenge to offensive linemen. But pro football history is filled with college standouts (especially defenders) who did not translate to stardom in the rigors of grown-man football.
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FAQ About the Lions and the Playoffs
How Many Times Have the Detroit Lions won the NFC North?
The Lions have never won the NFC North division. The NFL restructured the divisions in 2002, creating the NFC North when both the AFC and NFC went from three divisions to four.
Previously when they were members of the NFC Central, Detroit won the division crown in 1993, 1991, and 1983.
When was the Last Time the Detroit Lions won a Playoff Game?
In 1991, the Lions won the NFC Central with a 12-4 record. That season, Barry Sanders ran for 1,548 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.
In the NFC Divisional Round, the Lions defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 38-6. The team lost in the NFC Championship Game the next week to Washington.
Despite making the NFL Playoffs eight times since that victory over the Cowboys, the Lions have not won a playoff game since 1991.
AP Photo/Rick Osentoski