There's a considerable amount of hype surrounding the Detroit Lions entering 2023. While they haven't won the NFC North since 1993, Vegas has them as the new favorites in the division following the departure of Aaron Rodgers. The offense was a top-five unit last year that recorded a franchise-record eight 30-point games, and the defense added some important pieces such as C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Jack Campbell. Could the Lions be a legitimate contender?
Detroit began its 2023 campaign at home vs. the New York Giants in Week 1 of the preseason. The Lions earned a 21-16 victory, thanks to an 18-3 second-half run. Apart from Julian Okwara recording a whopping three sacks, one of the most notable takeaways from this exhibition matchup was the environment at Ford Field. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that the Giants actually had to use a silent count on offense.
"Our fans were unbelievable the other night," Campbell said, via Pro Football Talk. "I mean, for a preseason game, you're telling your young players and your rookies, 'This is the first one, NFL game, it ought to be a pretty good atmosphere.' But my god, I didn't expect that. I don't think any of them did. That's unbelievable. That's a packed house for preseason. It was awesome. They were using silent count on offense -- in a preseason game! So it certainly helps. So that was awesome."
According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh's simulations, the Lions win the division 44.2% of the time, and make the playoffs 62.2% of the time. The Lions have the longest active playoff victory drought among all MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams. Detroit's fans are optimistic that drought will come to an end in 2023.