The pressure is on the Detroit Lions to win the NFC North this coming season. That’s a feat the Lions have never reached, as their previous divisional championship came in 1993 (three decades ago) when they played in the now-extinct NFC Central. Quarterback Jared Goff was recently asked about the team’s expectations and gave a strong message on where his head is at this offseason.
Much has changed in the division since last offseason when the Packers were a favorite to not only win the NFC North but win a Super Bowl. The Lions weren’t considered a playoff contender. But by the end of last season, the Lions and Packers were both alive before the start of Week 18. A Seattle Seahawks win knocked the Lions out of the race, but Goff was able to rally the Lions to a 20-16 win over the Packers on the road to knock their rival out of a Wild Card spot.
The Lions are a hot team this offseason, and the Packers are facing a rebuild. The Lions added former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery and a slew of secondary members to patch up one of the few problems on their roster at the end of last season. The Packers are plotting to trade quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets and have decided to avoid signing bloated contracts to veterans in free agency. That’s a nice way to say they’re resetting the roster for quarterback Jordan Love.
With the Minnesota Vikings imploding and the Bears in the second year of a major rebuild, the Lions are an obvious April choice to win the division. Oddsmakers have the Lions as the favorite (+135) to win the NFC North, and the Packers are the least favorite (+450) of the four to win the division.
Jared Goff responds to Lions being NFC North favorites
According to Grant Gordon with the NFL.com, Goff told reporters that it’s too early to crown a champion in the division and the team has work to do after missing the playoffs last season:
“I don’t believe there are any favorites to win anything in April. But what do I know?” Goff told reporters Tuesday. “A lot can change from now until August or whatever. We like what we’ve done in the offseason and last year, but [there is] plenty of stuff to get better at and work on…
I don’t think we have a bullseye,” he said. “We missed the playoffs. Why would we have a bullseye? I mean, we’ve played better. We played better last year and have a lot of work to do still. But yeah, we’re a better team. We’ll get teams’ better shots, maybe. But we certainly have done a lot of things that have improved our chances and hopefully can give us a better chance this year.”
The Lions will have plenty of chances to get better this offseason. As a part of the trade for Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams sent the Lions a first-round pick in 2022 and 2023. They’re about to pick at six and 18 next week. Not only are the Lions set up to win the division this season, but head coach Dan Campbell and the Lions brass have also done a great job teeing up the Lions to be a contender for the next few years.
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