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Detroit Lions 2023 Season Preview

Photo courtesy Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

Detroit Lions 2023 Season Preview & Record Prediction

2022 Record: 9-8

Bad teams will not stay within the realm of constant losing forever. There will eventually be a time when they are again relevant and compete for playoff spots. Over the years, teams like the Cincinnati Bengals have emerged from perennial losers to Super Bowl contenders. The Miami Dolphins seemed to have turned the corner after clinching a wild-card playoff berth last season, and the New York Jets finally found the missing piece to their puzzle when they acquired QB Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay. The same could be happening for the Detroit Lions. After coming off a season where they finished second in the NFC North with a 9-8 record and a playoff berth that was within reach, expectations are high for the 2023 campaign.

Aaron Rodgers is no longer in the NFC nor the division, the verdict is still out on Justin Fields as the Bears’ permanent option at quarterback, and no one expects the Vikings to have the wild endings they pulled off in 2022. Based on the transactions in the offseason within the division, the Lions are the projected favorites to win the NFC North. So, here’s how Strike 7 Sports believes the season will shape out for Detroit. Today is the first of our seven-team season preview series for 2023.

Previewing the Lions’ Offense

So, here is what we know about Lions head coach Dan Campbell. He’s a Sean Payton disciple who gets it. He’s constructing the Lions’ offense similar to what Payton assembled during his tenure with the New Orleans Saints as head coach. Like his mentor, Campbell has a reliable veteran quarterback in Jared Goff, a formidable offensive line, and many weapons to keep a defensive coordinator up at night. In 2022, the Lions’ were ranked fourth in total offense (6,460) and fourth in points per game with 26.6. The same dynamic unit we saw last season returns but will have a few new faces.

During the free agency period, the Lions decided to part ways with running back Jamaal Williams and traded D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles. Former Chicago Bear David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs will be stepping into their roles. The selection of the former Crimson Tide running back was a shock when the Lions selected Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Before the draft, Gibbs was projected to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick at best. But the Lions did not want to take a chance and hoped that Gibbs would be available in the next two rounds.

The Lions also selected a potential future QB when they selected Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker in the third round. Still, for the foreseeable future, Goff will be the chief conductor of the Lions’ offense. The former number-one overall pick reemerged as one of the league’s top passers when he threw for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdown passes, and only seven interceptions.

Previewing the Lions’ Defense

If the Lions want to achieve their playoff aspirations in 2023, they must improve on defense significantly. Last season, their unit was near the bottom of the league in many statistical categories. Along with trading D’Andre Swift, they also shipped off former first-round pick cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons. They signed veterans Cameron Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Emmanuel Moseley to improve their secondary. Detroit would also add to the group through the draft by selecting safety Brian Branch out of Alabama. Of the three DBs that were signed, Gardner-Johnson is expected to impact the Lions’ defense significantly.

He’s familiar with head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn during his time with the Saints. The former Florida Gator tied for first in the league with six interceptions last season. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson will need to build off his rookie year

when he racked up 9.5 sacks and three interceptions. Detroit also added a new face at the linebacker position when they used the first of their two first-round picks on selecting Jack Campbell out of Iowa.

Important Games

Seahawks (September 17)

Falcons (September 24)

Ravens (October 22)

Chargers (November 12)

Bears (November 19, December 10)

Vikings (December 24, January 7)

Cowboys (December 30)

Season Outlook

The NFL was so blown away by how the Lions closed out the 2022 season that they decided to feature them in the first game of the 2023 campaign against the Kansas City Chiefs, also the defending Super Bowl champions. No one is expecting Detroit to pull off the upset in the season opener on Thursday night, but we have seen crazier things occur in the past. Aside from the matchup with Kansas City, the Lions must get off to a fast start to distance themselves from division foes such as the Vikings and the Bears. Crucial games against the Ravens, Chargers, Falcons, and Seahawks will shape the course of the Lions’ season.

To close things out, I predict that the Lions will win the NFC North for 2023 and could make things interesting once the playoffs are underway. The Lions is no longer a layup victory for an opposing team, and their opponents must game plan on how to take away impact players that they contain on both sides of the ball.

Predicted Record for 2023: 10-7 (NFC North Division Winner)




Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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