The Detroit Lions have been pushing through a tough season on the field, but in spite of some of the frustrations, things haven’t been all bad for the team.
At 4-7, the Lions are already guaranteed to finish 2022 with a better record than they did in 2021. That’s good news for the team and Dan Campbell, but it could be even better for everyone by the time the season ends in just over a month’s time.
Analyst Eric Woodyard was charged with putting together some realistic expectations for Detroit’s finish. As he said, simply seeing the team double their win total would be the biggest plus.
“The expectations were higher in Year 2 of the Dan Campbell era. Although they got off to a rough 1-6 start, lately the Lions have been among the hottest teams in the league, winning three of their past four games. The Lions might not finish at .500 this year, but they do have an opportunity to double their win total from 3-13-1 in 2021 to at least six wins this season, which is a big improvement as they continue to take steps toward their rebuild. Detroit has not won six games since 2018,” Woodyard wrote.
To get to six wins, the Lions would have to win just two more games on the schedule. With four of the team’s final six games against teams considerably under .500, that would have to be considered a pretty attainable goal for the team, especially as they get healthier.
Whether the Lions end up in the playoffs, stay “in the hunt” or not, if the team meets Woodyard’s realistic goal, it would have to be seen as nothing other than a positive for the franchise amid their latest extended rebuild.
Detroit’s Alive Within NFC Playoff Race
In spite of the loss in Week 12, the Lions still have a chance to be a factor in the NFC playoff race. Detroit doesn’t have as big a margin of error with seven losses as some teams, but their schedule will make them a factor down the stretch.
Aside from many who see the slate as difficult, the team’s schedule feels favorable with some home games on the horizon. In Week 13, the Lions have Jacksonville at Ford Field. Then they play the Vikings at home, the Jets on the road, the Panthers at home and the Bears at home. That’s a very ripe stretch for the team considering the number of home games and the chance for the team’s crowd to play a factor.
Should Detroit bring this level of effort moving forward, they are going to remain in the hunt and still be fighters down the stretch of the season. For that reason, many think the fans should remain pretty thankful for the team right now.
Lions Poised to Finish 2022 With Momentum
No matter what happens, if the Lions finish the season with what Woodward says would be realistic, doubling their win total from the 2021 season, that would still have to be seen as a major step forward.
When Detroit had a 1-6 record earlier in the season, questions swirled about the team, coaching staff and front office. Detroit’s return to respectability has helped make the end of the season exciting, and if the team doubled their win total, it would signal some progress for the decision makers to hang their hats on.
Come 2023, the expectation could be for the Lions to improve even more, and perhaps start to make a playoff push. If things go in chronological order, that would make plenty of sense given where the team was last year and seems to be trending this season.
With a full coffer of draft selections as well as more money to spend, the team should be able to hit the ground running in 2023 during the offseason. With some on-field momentum, that could help the Lions in a big way to sustain some future success.