You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in NFL circles who isn't at least intrigued by the Detroit Lions next season. They could very well open 2023 as favorites in the NFC North, a division they haven't won since it was known as the NFC Central.
And they intend to win it.
"Coming into OTA’s, we’re going to have a way about us that’s expecting to not only win the division, but compete in the playoffs and make some real noise next year," Jared Goff said after the Lions won eight of their final 10 games this season to finish 9-8.
That optimism isn't just internal. Around the league, especially in the NFC, opposing teams are taking notice of the Lions. When ESPN recently reached out to a group of 'top league executives' for predictions for next season, a few of them pointed to the Lions 'as a divisional winner.'
One NFC exec said that if Goff can sustain his play from this season, when he finished with the seventh best passer rating in the NFL, "There's no reason why they can't do some damage in the playoffs."
Their odds will only increase if they host a game or two in Detroit.
"We’re trying to have playoff games at Ford Field," said Penei Sewell. "We got to. Especially after the season we just put together, I feel like that’s the next step."