The 2022 NFL season was characterized by hope and optimism for the Detroit Lions following the iconic Hard Knocks series which aired in the preseason. Despite the eagerness of fans to see what this team had in store, expectations for actual success remained relatively low. Vegas odds had the Lions’ win total at 6.5.
Now, in week 18, the Lions are still in contention for a playoff spot as they prepare for their most important game of the season in Lambeau. The Lions have already surpassed expectations with 8 wins, and more importantly, those wins came on the back of a promising young core. Aiden Hutchinson and James Houston lead all rookies in sacks. Malcolm Rodriguez leads rookies in TFLs. Kerby Joseph has 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. Jameson Williams had a 40-yard run last week and Josh Paschal had 2 sacks in that same game.
This rookie class has been undeniably special in addition to other Brad Holmes gems like Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Alim McNeil, and Jerry Jacobs (UDFA). Now the Lions will look to build on this talent with the help of a top 10 pick from the Rams, a first rounder of their own, and two second round picks. Thanks to the youth of these players, the Lions also have a favorable cap situation.
There is certainly plenty to look forward to in the future, but the Lions also have the chance to play in Green Bay for a winning record and possibly the playoffs; something that has not been accomplished in Detroit since 2017. There is a lot to play for, and the Lions are not the betting favorite. But to Lions fans, this game should not take away from the incredible success the Lions have already achieved by crawling from 1-6 to being flexed to Sunday Night Football in week 18.