Since restructuring the NFC division in 2002 and with it the beginning of the NFC North, the Detroit Lions have yet to win an NFC North division title. Before 2003, the Lions had won three titles as part of the NFC Central division, in ’93, ’91, and ’83. The last time the team won a division championship was with Barry Sanders in the backfield, running for a total of 1,548 yards across the 12-4 season.
In 2021, the Lions didn’t get their first win until game 12, ending the season with a 3-13-1 record. However, many experts and fans believe this year could be the season that the Lions make a comeback and jump into the #1 spot in the NFC North.
Odds heading into the season
The Green Bay Packers, led by back-to-back NFL MVP winner Aaron Rodgers entered the season as the clear favorite for the title of NFC North Division Champions. The team started the 2022 season as a -175 favorite, making it the third-highest odds of any team to win its division. Since their first loss during their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, their odds have slid quite a bit. Although they’re still the favorite, most sportsbooks now have the team at +115 or +125 to win the NFC North.
After Dan Campbell’s first season with the team ended in an upsetting 3-13-1 record, the coach is hopeful for this season’s performance.
“Every time we hear the S-O-L, same old Lions, and all the stuff, I think it fuels our fire. We love it. I think that’s how we all feel. That’s how we all talk. That’s how we all think. There’s nothing fake about it,” said Campbell.
Heading into the 2022 NFL season, Campbell was bet on more than any other NFL coach to win Coach of the Year at Caesars sportsbook. Lions starting running back D’Andre Swift also drew the most money overall to lead in NFL rushing yards leading into the season.
According to BetMGM, the Detroit Lions to win the NFC North was the most popular bet leading up to the 2022 NFL Season. BetMGM shared that over 61% of bets in the NFC North back the Lions winning the division championship. The Vikings received 22% of the bets reported by BetMGM, with the Packers and the Bears bringing up the rear. These figures were taken in July, prior to the start of the 2022 season.
With their first game against the Eagles at Ford Field ending in a 38-35 loss and win over the Commanders this week, the team is now sitting around +750 to +850 at most sportsbooks to win the NFC North.
How could the Lions pull it off?
To have a chance at their first NFC North division title this year, the team will have to improve on their stats from last season.
Defensively, the Lions ranked second to last in points allowed by any team. The Lions averaged 27.5 opp ppg, second only to the Jets, with 29.6 opp ppg. Detroit would need to improve its ability to stop runs. Last season the team ranked fifth in the NFL, allowing opponents to run for 2,296 total yards.
The team’s quarterback, Jared Goff would also need to improve during his second season in Detroit. Last season, Goff threw for only 19 touchdowns and ended the season with 3,245 yards.
If Campbell and the Detroit Lions will have a chance this year, the team would need to be much more consistent. Either way, Sunday’s game against Minnesota will surely be exciting.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com