My entire life, I’ve never actually believed the Lions had a shot at winning the NFC North. No matter how good they were (and they were rarely ever going to begin with), the bogeyman was always right around the corner. For the longest time, the bogeyman was Brett Favre, and then the bogeyman became Aaron Rodgers. We’re only one week into the NFL season, and it is so silly of me to make judgments on teams this early. But fuck it, I’ll do it anyway.
The Lions need to win the NFC North. It’s as simple as that. They have the best roster in the NFC North. Week one does not always indicate where a team will go with their season. I’ve seen Super Bowl caliber teams that stumbled out of the gate. But I think that some of the issues we saw from some NFC North teams yesterday will last throughout the year.
I’ve never bought into the Chicago Bears hype, but I’ve had so many people in my ear claiming that the Bears will see a fast turnaround that even I started to buy into their resurgence. Yesterday proved that they’re still a long way away. I’m not a big believer in Justin Fields; their defense is dog shit. If a game was ever made for them to make a statement, it was yesterday. They made a statement. It just wasn’t a good one.
The Minnesota Vikings lost at home against a bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that was led by a quarterback who was starting for his fourth team in three years. Rico Bosco referred to the Vikings as "A powder keg of dysfunction." He's very much right. I came into the season believing the Vikings would still be good but not nearly as lucky as last year. I still think that, but with Kirk Cousins being a contract season, I could see things getting pretty tumultuous quickly if they get off to a rough start.
Even with Aaron Rodgers out of the division, the one team that scares me more than any other in the NFC North is the Green Bay Packers. Jordan Love looked really good yesterday, and while Aaron Rodgers is responsible for so much of the Packers' success over the last decade-plus, Matt LaFleur is an excellent head coach. If they can get the kind of production that they got yesterday out of love, they are the most dangerous team in this division besides the Lions.
I've never been this gung-ho on the Lions. I'm always the last horse to water. More often than not, I've been correct with my skepticism. But with each passing day, I can't help but shake the feeling that this is different. They have to execute, and they have to take care of business. If they win this week at home against the Seattle Seahawks, which they should, they're officially in the driver's seat in the NFC North. We have a long way to go, but the division is theirs if they want it. I don't know if I've ever been able to say that.