Last time we saw the Detroit Lions on a football field for an NFL game, they were smacking the hated Green Bay Packers around, preventing that team from making the playoffs. The victory in the 17th and final game last season was sweet. But it also set an agenda that hasn’t been seen in Detroit for a long time.
It’s been many years since there were expectations for the Detroit Lions. But that’s changed. The team. Coached by maverick icon Dan Campbell, is expected by many to win the NFC North. An improvement on the 9-7 record of last season and a place in the playoffs, is what many Detroit fans are counting on.
Many things can happen on the way to the promiseland, however. That’s why Thursday’s season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is so fascinating.
NFL schedule makers have done Campbell and the Lions a favor in the form of a Week 1 litmus test. How the Lions handle the challenge will tell us how much we can temper or ramp up expectations for this team, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. Yes, 1991 - before the World Wide Web was invented; back when Bill Clinton was a largely unknown hillbilly governor; and when the USSR still existed.
The Lions have a potent offense, probably one of the five best in the NFL. There shouldn’t be any problem putting points on the board this season. How good has quarterback Jared Goff been since the Lions acquired him via trade two years ago? The team is reportedly in negotiations to give him a mega-million dollar contract to stay in Honolulu Blue.
The Lions may very well lose on Thursday. The Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, are a juggernaut, with a capital Jugger and an emphasis on Naut. The Chiefs are the favorites to win the Super Bowl (again). They have both a defense and offense that can make great plays.
But, even if the Lions are defeated in Week 1, it will be a helpful barometer for the season as a whole. For that, Lions fans should be thankful that there are any expectations at all.
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