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Can Lions Live Up to Sky-High Expectations in 2024?

The Detroit Lions enter the 2024 season as one of the favorites in Super Bowl odds. Detroit is currently priced (+1200) at the sportsbook to win Super Bowl LIX. This positions them with the fourth-highest odds behind only the San Francisco 49ers (+600), Kansas City Chiefs (+600) and Baltimore Ravens (+900).

 

Can Lions Live Up to Sky-High Expectations in 2024?
Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions | Ezra Shaw/getty Images/afp

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) ranks Detroit as the fourth-ranked team entering the 2024 season. Interestingly, this system gives Detroit the third-highest chance to win the Super Bowl, at 10%.


The Lions’ previous season was nothing short of remarkable. They clinched their first NFC North title since 1993 and made history by hosting their inaugural playoff game at Ford Field. This successful season has not only boosted the team’s morale but also raised the expectations of the fans and the league. With a 12-5 record, they shared the NFC’s top spot with the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, proving they are a force to be reckoned with.

They took down their former No. 1 overall pick, Matthew Stafford, and the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card, then knocked off Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round. Their quest was cut short in the NFC Championship Game after fumbling away a 17-point halftime lead against the 49ers.

Despite coming up short of a Super Bowl, Detroit took the leap last season and has entered the spotlight as we head into the 2024 season. The Lions will no longer take the league by surprise and will have a target on their backs every week.

Roaring Expectations for Jared Goff and Co.

Jared Goff, Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown secured long-term extensions this offseason. These stars are the cornerstones of the Lions franchise. This group of players and coaches are more determined than ever to make it back, fueled by the memory of their record-setting season and loss in the NFC Championship. This unwavering desire to reach the Super Bowl should instill a sense of hope and optimism in the hearts of Lions fans.


Not only did Detroit pay its stars, but it also made strategic additions on the defensive side. The Lions bolstered their secondary by adding Carlton Davis III and Amik Robertson. They traded up in the draft and selected Alabama corner Terrion Arnold. Detroit added to its defense up front by bringing in veterans DJ Reader and Marcus Davenport.

Detroit general manager Brad Holmes understands that the window to win is wide open, and these strategic acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball could prove to be the difference in getting the franchise to its first Super Bowl.

Early Tests in September in Prime-Time Spots

The Lions open the season against a familiar face: Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams. The two teams will play a playoff rematch on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. Detroit will be tested early with another playoff rematch in Week 2 when it hosts the Buccaneers. These games could be closer to a coin flip on a neutral field, but the Lions have home-field advantage, which gives them the edge.

They hit the road for the first time in Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals. They return to Ford Field in Week 4 for their first Monday Night Football matchup when they host the always-competitive Seattle Seahawks. Seattle spoiled Detroit’s home opener in 2023, and the Lions will seek revenge.

Untimely Bye Week

Most NFL teams look forward to their bye week later in the season after they’ve taken more bumps. Unfortunately, the Lions’ bye comes early in Week 5. The timing of the bye week is less than ideal for a team that expects to make a deep playoff run. However, there is a silver lining here. Detroit will have two weeks to prepare for a date with the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.

The Lions will be ferociously looking for revenge on the road against Dallas after they lost to the Cowboys 20-19 in Week 17 due to a controversial call by the officials. The Cowboys have won 16 consecutive regular season games at home, and the Lions would love to be the ones to rip that off their limbs.

That begins a demanding series of games. Five of their seven games following the bye will be on the road. After the showdown in Dallas, this challenging stretch is followed by a clash with the Minnesota Vikings in the first of their six games against NFC North rivals. Next, they face off against the Tennessee Titans, led by young quarterback Will Levis.

Their next test comes in a pair of games against playoff teams in Weeks 9-10 — at the Green Bay Packers and then the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football, both on the road. The Lions wrap up November with games against AFC South opponents – at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

Litmus Test Comes in December

Thanksgiving and the Lions go hand in hand. On the holiday, the Lions will host the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Detroit begins December at home on Thursday Night Football when it hosts Green Bay the following week. A clash with MVP favorite Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will follow this difficult matchup. A matchup on the road in Chicago is sandwiched between the Lions’ ultimate test in Week 17.

Detroit’s chance at redemption for the NFC Championship loss comes in Week 17 on the road for Monday Night Football against the 49ers. Head coach Dan Campbell has a strong 6-2 record in prime-time games in his three seasons in Detroit.

NFC North Weather is a Non-Factor

Since Jared Goff entered the league, many point to his home/road and indoor/outdoor splits. The NFC North is known for some of the harshest weather environments in Chicago and Green Bay. Luckily, the Lions appear to have evaded them in 2024, with their road game at Lambeau Field coming in early November in Week 9. They play in Chicago in Week 16 in mid-December, but this is the lone game on the schedule that could have poor weather conditions.

The Lions will play 14 of their 17 games in a dome! Two of the three outdoor games will be against NFC North opponents. The other will be in the mild weather in California against the 49ers late in the season.

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Lions 2024 Season Prediction

The Lions have added the right pieces to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. The NFL betting odds price Detroit at -225 to make the playoffs and the favorite to win the NFC North at +160. The division should be more competitive, with Jordan Love and the Packers showing they belong as contenders in the NFC. The Bears have also bolstered their roster heading into 2024, and the first overall pick, Caleb Williams, can ultimately create chaos if he lives up to expectations in year one.

Detroit won’t be surprising any teams in 2024, but I like its chances of making another deep run in the postseason. The Lions’ offense is electric, and they will have the opportunity to display their effectiveness with 14 of 17 games inside a dome or retractable roof.

Campbell has pressed all the right buttons since being hired three seasons ago. One of the most overlooked stories this offseason was offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s decision to stay with the Lions and turn down potential head coaching opportunities.

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will also coach his fourth season in Detroit. The consistency at the coordinator positions is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of franchises in the NFL. These factors will get Detroit into its first Super Bowl in franchise history.

 

 

Question of the Day

How many prime-time games do the Lions play in 2024?


The Lions will play five prime-time games during the 2024 season – twice on Sunday night, two on Monday Night Football and one on Thursday night.

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