Looking back on the 2022 season, the Detroit Lions were one of the surprise teams. Head coach Dan Campbell has transformed the culture in Detroit in his first two seasons in charge. The Lions used to be penciled in as an easy win on opponents’ schedules but that no longer is the case. Detroit now has the belief that can win any game they play and that confidence led them to a 9-8 record last season. Will the Lions take the next step and be a playoff team next season? Let’s explore that further and offer a record prediction for the 2023-2024 season.
The 2022 NFL Draft featured two stud Defensive Ends, Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson. It was widely known that the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to take Walker with the 1st pick. With that meant Hutchinson would be on the board for Detroit and it was a perfect match. The Lions were in need of a elite pass rusher for their defense and drafting the local kid was a no brainier. Hutchinson exceeded all expectations in his rookie season and finished 2nd for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Now, Hutchinson will look to take the next step by being the leader of the Lions defense.
When Jared Goff left the Los Angeles Rams many thought his good days were beyond him. Turns out that is not the case as Goff has revived his career in Detroit. Goff has thrived in OC Ben Johnson’s system and in 2022 was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL. Big things are now expected from Goff in his third year with Detroit. I expect Goff to thrive again for the Lions and continue to impress in 2023.
Last year, the Detroit Lions defense finished at the bottom of the league in most categories. For as good as the offense was the defense was pretty poor. They had a hard time stopping anybody and it put extra pressure on the Lions offense. Have the Lions done enough to address this weakness? In short no.
The Lions were able to acquire C.J. Gardner-Johnson who impressed with the Eagles but they lost CB Jeff Okudah. Emmanuel Mosley was supposed to help fill the void left by Okudah but he is currently injured with no timetable on a return. Fellow cornerback Cameron Sutton has shown flashes but will need to be more consistent for the Lions. I fear we could be talking about a below-average defense again next year for the Lions.
In my eyes, this is the year the Detroit Lions finally breakthrough and win the NFC North. The defense will still have its struggles but the offense will be even better than last year. Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs will make his mark in the backfield and Amon-Ra St. Brown will continue to ascend. Keep an eye on Dan Campbell AP Coach of the Year.
2023 Record: 11-6 (1st in the Division)