2022 has been one of the most interesting football seasons in years for the NFC North. Who could have thought that an Aaron Rodgers led Packers team would have no chance at the division title? Or that the Vikings would run away with the division by midseason? What might be the most surprising part of this season, though, is that the Lions are actually the best in the North, despite being four games back from the lead.
Minnesota has been one of the best teams in the NFC this year, boasting a 10-2 record before heading to Detroit where the Lions were just 5-7. What made this classic rivalry different this time was that the Lions were betting favorites. This marked the first time in the Super Bowl era that a 5-7 team was the betting favorite against a 10-2 team.
While this mind-boggling event gave an indication of how improved the Lions have been since week 9, the Lions still had to win this game if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive. Vegas had the Lions as 2.5 point favorites, but at the end of the day, the Lions won more handedly than even sport books could have predicted. With a final score of 34-23, the Lions proved they are better than their record and are one of the hottest teams in the NFC.
In a year where the Packers and Bears have been essentially non-competitive, there is an argument that the Lions are the best team in the division. In their first matchup, it took the Vikings everything they had to overcome a deficit in the final seconds of the game. The second time around, the Lions were not going to be beaten.
Justin Jefferson set a franchise single game receiving yards record and still lost by 11. Even with 10 wins to just 3 losses, the Vikings have a negative point differential. This Lions offense has been on fire for a majority of the season and the defense has done a complete 180 over the past 6 weeks. With the way they have been playing and the win against Minnesota this past week, I think it would be wrong to say the Lions are not the best team in the North right now.