Who will the Lions jump ahead of in the standings this year?
With the Green Bay Packers re-signing Aaron Rodgers to a blockbuster extension this offseason, they remain the favorites to win the NFC North. But they might not be the powerhouse that they were last year after sending away their best receiver in Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The rest of the NFC North is pretty much up for grabs with no other team finishing above .500 last year and no team having a spectacular offseason so far when it comes to adding talent. This could be arguably the weakest division in the NFL currently, which opens up some opportunity for the Lions to take a significant jump in Year 2 of the Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes era.
Can the Lions challenge for top-2 in the NFC North in 2022?
I think the Lions should absolutely jump the Bears this year, who are in the midst of their own rebuild and have done nothing but ink one- or two-year deals on bottom/mid-tier players in free agency so far.
The Vikings are still committed to winning and have made some splash moves. Like signing linebacker Za’Darius Smith away from the Packers on a three-year deal and bringing back Kirk Cousins for at least one more year. It may be a stretch to assume the Lions can improve enough to surpass the Vikings this year, but I think with another good draft class, they shouldn’t be too far off.
So if I had to guess, I think the Lions jump up a spot from last year and finish the year in 3rd above the Bears, but below the Packers and Vikings, and probably increase their win total from three wins to about six or seven. I believe there will be moments where it looks like they can challenge the Packers or Vikings to get into that race for first or second, but they will ultimately fall short as they are still too far away from having the talent and depth necessary to complete that jump.