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How the Lions became the Kings of the NFC North


The Lions now lead the NFC North: Detroit has not won a division since 1993 when it was the called NFC Central


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30 Years


After their win and dominating performance over the Packers on Thursday, the Lions find themselves first in the NFC North. The Lions are an impressive 3-1 and are the top team in the NFC North. The Lions are searching for their first division title since 1993. In 1993, it was called the NFC Central. It included every team in the North now, but it also included the Buccaneers. Technically Detroit has never won the NFC North as before it was the Central that included Tampa Bay who are now in the South. Another interesting fact about the last time the Lions won the division. The Ravens, the second iteration of the Browns, Panthers, Jaguars and Texans were not even teams in the NFL yet. Barry Sanders was on the squad in 1993 and was on pace to set the NFL rushing record. Even though, there is a ton of football left to be played, the Lions have showed they are very balanced and are looking like the team to beat not only in the North, but also in the entire NFC. They have now beaten the Chiefs and the Packers both on the road in primetime. Detroit should probably be undefeated if it wasn`t for fluke loss to the Seahawks. The Lions are in great shape to win the North as long as they don`t have any significant injuries.



TNF Recap


The Lions went into Lambeau Field on Thursday aiming to get their fourth straight win over the Packers. The Lions were 2-1 and coming off a nice victory over the Falcons. The last time the Lions won in Lambeau was Aaron Rodgers final game with the Packers. The Lions spoiled his final game as a Packer and knocked them completely out of the playoffs with a victory over Green Bay. They also defeated the Packers twice and the last time Detroit beat Green Bay four times in a row was back in 2017 and 2018 when they were led by former head coach Jim Caldwell. The game started off slow for the Lions as Goff threw an interception. However, the defense for the Lions was stout and forced the Packers to kick a field goal. After their first drive everything went well for the Lions. They had back to back drives that resulted in scores to go up 14-3. The O-Line played tremendously and gave Goff protection for him to throw in the pocket. They also were great in the run game as well. They opened running lanes for David Mongomery who the Lions signed from the Bears in the offseason. Goff was only sacked twice, threw for 210 yards along with 1 TD pass and 1 Int. Montgomery was flawless and had 3 scores. The ISU product rushed for 121 yards on 32 carries averaging 3.8 yards per game.


For the Packers, Love was not spectacular at all. His offensive line was not great, but he held onto the ball too long which caused him to be sacked 5 times. The Utah State product was on the ground a lot especially in the first half. The former first round pick managed to throw for 246 yards and 1 touchdown pass, but threw 2 interceptions. The Packers will need to get a better approach on offense and figure out what to do with Love and the offensive line struggling. With Bakhtiari likely done for the season and their best guard Elgton Jenkins that could also be out for a long period, they need to get some more help in the trenches. Aaron Jones came back from injury, but suffered a stinger in the second quarter which caused him to miss most of the game. He finished with 18 yards on 5 carries. The Packers defense struggled mightily as well allowing 421 yards on offense.


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Offseason


The Lions offseason was a bit surprising to say the least. After an impressive end to the 2022 season, the Lions had their first winning season since 2017. The Lions were hoping to build off that with some nice signings in free agency and some good draft picks. The first strange move the Lions made was to bring in David Montgomery from the Bears, despite already having Jamal Williams and DeAndre swift. The Lions let Williams walk and he ended up signing with the Saints. The more surprising move for the Lions was to draft a running back in the first round such as selecting Jameer Gibbs out of Alabama. The Lions then traded DeAndre Swift to the loaded and raining NFC champs, the Eagles. The Lions also made a questionable move by drafting LB Jack Campbell out of Iowa with their second first round selection. Many pundits believed the Lions could have waited until the second round to select Campbell. At last year's deadline, the Lions moved on from their 2019 first round pick TJ Hawkinson as they traded him to the division rival the Vikings. Well, Detroit quickly moved on from Hockinson by selecting the same alma mater Iowa and picked Sam LaPorta. Many people also believed that the Lions should have moved on from Jared Goff. However the former top selection, picked up where he left off from last season and has been excelling. Goff has thrown for six touchdowns, three interceptions, 1.029 yards and a passer rating of 98.4. Lions general manager Brad Holmes made some smart decisions in the offseason that was a crucial part to why Detroit has started the year an impressive 3-1.



Dan Campbell


When the Lions hired Dan Campbell in the off-season of 2021, many fans and analysts had questions regarding the hiring of the former Tight End. Dan Campbell had been assistant with the Saints and according to reports the interview went well with detroit. After Detroit fired Matt Patricia, they needed a complete 180 on their culture. The front office believed that Campbell was the smart choice even though it might take some time. Campebll became an internet sensation with his first interview. Campbell's first interview as the Lions head coach was unforgettable. Campbell stated that they were going to bite the kneecaps of every team they played. That was the first time that many people heard Dan Campbell talk. After the interview it went viral and Campebll was one of the most popular coaches in the NFL despite just being hired. Dan Campbell is one of the most successful Lions coaches in quite some time. Jim Caldwell was also successful with the Lions as he led them to the playoffs three of the four Seasons he was in the Motor City. Other than Caldwell and Campebll, the Lions have not seen much success since the 90s when they were led by head coach Wayne Fontes. Fontes was the only Lions head coach to lead the Pride to the NFC Championship game which was in 1993. In his first 2 and half years with the Lions, Campbell has gone 15-22-1.




Jared Goff


Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell's first big move was to move on from franchise icon, QB Matthew Stafford. The Lions traded Matthew Stafford to the Rams for two first round picks, a third round pick and QB Jared goff. The trade at first seemed as if the trade was a win for the Rams and a loss for the Lions. In Stafford's first season with the Rams, they won the Super Bowl by beating the Bengals. The first year with Goff as the Lions starting quarterback was rough. But, after some rough patches in year number two with Detroit, Goff performed well and went on a six game winning streak and helped the Lions to their first winning season since 2017. He also did turn the ball over and had one of his seasons since 2018 when he led LA to the Super Bowl. If Goff and the Lions continue to excel, it's hard to see this trade as a loss for the Lions.




Conclusion


The Lions are not just the best team in the NFC North, but on Thursday, they showed that they are one of the best teams in the NFC. They have shown that they can compete with teams such as the Eagles and 49ers. Detroit has a very good running game with David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs. They also have one of the most underrated WR in the League such as Amon-Ra St. Brown who already has over 300 yards receiving. The O-Line is also one of the best in the NFL with LT Taylor Decker leading the way. In the last few years, the Lions have invested in the offensive line and drafting players such tackle Penei Sewell, center frank Ragnow and others in the trenches. The Lions hope that they can continue winning when they take on the Panthers next Sunday.















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