Lions Become Betting Favorites to Win NFC North

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford pumps his fist during a game against Green Bay.

The Detroit Lions are attacking a new season and have been getting plenty of love early on from analysts as it relates to their chances at winning the division.

According to some new lists, the Lions might actually be favorites to win the NFC North. Recently a fresh look at some divisional odds was provided and according to The Lions weren’t picked to finish last, or even in the No. 2 or 3 position, but first overall.

Detroit currently is seeing 27.56% of action, just ahead of Minnesota at 27.49%. Just behind that were the Packers at 23.96%.

This shows how much faith bettors have in Detroit being the team that breaks through and wins the division. Currently, they are just barely generating more love and hype than anyone else in their division which is interesting to note. The Lions haven’t won the division in decades, so it could be seen as a risky move to peg them as favorites.

Lions Called NFC North Favorites by ESPN Analyst

Recently, ESPN analyst Dianna Russini admitted to feeling bold in the morning, and as part of that, she said she believes the Lions will end their elongated drought in the NFC North this coming season.

No context was provided for the prediction, but if Russini was pushed, it’s likely she’d say she is excited about the team’s offense, the return of a healthy, elite quarterback and a defense which might not be able to be any worse than it was in 2019 in multiple ways.

The Lions haven’t won their division since 1993, so this would be a stunning accomplishment for the team all things considered. Detroit rarely finds themselves in the driver’s seat, but when they do, they routinely choke away the opportunity to get the job done and take home the crown.

It might be time to make history in terms of the NFC North if some are to be believed.

Lions Have Long NFL Division Drought

The fact remains that the Lions simply cannot win their own division or be in position to host a playoff game. Right now, the Lions are tied for having the longest streak of not winning their division since the league’s re-alignment in 2002. The other teams joining them with regards to this futility? The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.

Detroit’s streak can extend even further back than 2002. 9 years to be exact, considering the last time the team had a division title of any kind was in 1993 when they won the NFC Central. The Lions have only 4 division titles of any kind to their credit historically, so if they were ever able to win the NFC North, it would be a ground breaking accomplishment.

This has to be tops on the team’s list for the future if they want to turn the page from their classic struggles.

Lions Called Potential NFC North Sleeper

As Pro Football Focus analyst George Chahrouri explained, the reason has everything to do with the division in which they play. It might not be so much the Lions but the fact that the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears won’t be as dangerous in 2020.

Chahrouri explains:

“You have the Packers who’s record was better than they actually were last season and added nothing this offseason. The Vikings who got rid of Stefon Diggs and have a ton of rookies that need to get acclimated. The Bears are starting Nick Foles at quarterback. If you’re telling me that division is not wide open, you’re crazy,” he said. “They get Matthew Stafford back who was top 3 in terms of positively graded pros last year until he went down. They should have beat the Chiefs if it weren’t for this fumble 6 they had. They do get back a great quarterback in Matthew Stafford. They can win that division.”

More than all of that, the Lions were close in nearly every game head to head against the division last year even without Stafford. They sustained some narrow losses to the Packers after leading nearly the whole game, and came within a few plays of beating the Bears a pair of times and the Vikings at home. The road loss to Minnesota wasn’t as big of a blowout as it could have been, either.

If the Lions are to contend, they will have to go through the NFC North with more success than they have the last few seasons. 2019 showed that even as miserable as the team may have been, there is still a chance at them doing just that in the minds of many.

Right now, the team is seen as a potentially surprising favorite.

READ NEXT: Former Lions Lineman Teases Potential Return to Team

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