The Detroit Lions haven’t had much positive to talk about for a while.
They finished 3-13-1 last season and didn’t record their first win until Week 13, when they knocked off NFC North foe Minnesota 29-27 at Ford Field. Lions fans had to stomach watching their former longtime starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, lead the Los Angeles Rams to a 23-20 victory over the Joe Burrow-led Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. It was another reminder of just how far the Lions are from the reaching the NFL pinnacle, with the team’s last playoff appearance coming in 2016.
Yet any signs of improvement from last season could bode well for Lions head coach Dan Campbell, which could result in his name being mentioned as a Coach of the Year candidate. FanDuel and BetMGM currently have odds of +2000 on Campbell earning that distinction, which ranks near the best odds to win the award.
Just spent 4.95 on US A Today Special Edition. This paper will be worth hundreds January 2023 when Dan Campbell clutches the first of his Superbowl wins.
Why Not Us? pic.twitter.com/1T8SirSyC4
— 🦁 Brad Holmes Serving Honolulu Blue Koolaid 🦁 (@DumasMike) May 30, 2022
Another new coaching era for Lions to gauge
Despite starting out Campbell’s tenure by losing its first eight contests before playing to a 16-16 tie on the road at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Detroit seemed to respond favorably to Campbell’s coaching style.
The Lions played with plenty of effort and energy during Campbell’s first season. Detroit went 3-5 over the last eight games of the season, winning its final three home games over Minnesota, Arizona (30-12, Week 15), and Green Bay (37-30, Week 18). Of the five losses during the final eight weeks of the regular season, three of the defeats were by four points or less.
Dan Campbell is the real life equivalent of those sports movies where a dude takes a high school football team full of outcasts and rejects and turns them into state champions in just one year. #NFL https://t.co/n5cAQkE5Bt
— Dan Rob H. (@danrobh93) May 26, 2022
Help on the way
Following the most recent NFL Draft, immediate help appears to be on the way for Campbell after Detroit chose All-American defensive end Aidan Hutchinson of the University of Michigan with the No. 2 overall pick. The two-time Wolverines captain and 2021 Big Ten Conference Most Valuable Player, who led Michigan to the Big Ten Conference championship and a long overdue victory over rival Ohio State, recorded 14 sacks and a total of 62 tackles last fall for the Wolverines.
The Lions also boosted their roster with the selection of speedy wideout Jameson Williams with the No. 12 overall pick. The former college standout, who finished his collegiate career at Alabama after starting at Ohio State alongside fellow first-round selections Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, hauled in 79 passes for 1,572 receiving yards, including 15 TDs, last fall for the Crimson Tide.