NFL: Do The Lions Have What it Takes to get to 10 wins in 2023?

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
31/08/2023/
News
The American Football Balls

Highlights

  • Most major online sportsbooks have the over/under win total for the Lions at 9.5.
  • Detroit opens up the season in the NFL Kickoff game Thursday, Sept. 7 against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
  • The Lions haven’t won 10 games or more since 2014.

It may still be warm out in Michigan, but it’s now football weather.

After surging at the end of the 2022 season, the Detroit Lions find themselves as the favorite to win the NFC North title and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Multiple Michigan sportsbooks, including Caesars, BetRivers, FanDuel and PointsBet have the Lions season win total at 9.5 entering 2023.

The Lions have won 10 or more games just twice since 1996. Twice. But there is optimism after a solid draft and the improving play of quarterback Jared Goff.

Now is the perfect time to look at the Lions regular season schedule and analyze whether they can really win 10 games.

Schedule These Wins

Listen, the NFL did the Lions no favors by pitting them against the Chiefs in the NFL Kickoff opener on Thursday. That game is reserved for the Super Bowl champion to showcase their stuff on national TV.

This is one of those situations where it’s an honor to be chosen, but defending Super Bowl champions are 13-4 since the NFL created this event. The Lions are underdogs with good reason.

On first glance at the rest of the schedule, there are some games you know the Lions will be favored to win. They play Seattle, a team with a poor defense, in Week 2 at home and Ford Field should be rocking for that one, then they play a rebuilding Atlanta team at home. Can you say 2-1?

On paper, the Lions should be 4-2 after six games, almost to the 10-win total. Then in November/December the schedule is softer than a pillow. It includes the Bears, Packers at home, in New Orleans against the Saints, again with the Bears and home for the Broncos. That’s five more wins right there. Potentially.

Then Again…

The fallacy in projecting a win total is all of the intangibles in a football season. I don’t think the Lions will beat the Chiefs in the NFL Kickoff, but if the game is not competitive, that could carry over for a few weeks.

The other great unknown in the NFL is injuries. Pro football is a collision sport. Players get hurt. What if the Lions lose star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, or defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or, gulp, Goff for any length of time?

Vice versa though, what if the Lions happen to play teams when they’re missing key players? What can look like a tough L now could be a cake W depending on injuries.

The North Men

Another way to look at the race for the NFC North Division title is how many wins the other three teams in the division are projected to have. It’s much closer than you might think.

The Vikings are listed at 8.5 wins. They are the defending division champs, remember. The Packers and Bears are both at 7.5, which seems high for both, but doubt a sportsbook at your own peril.

It all could come down to the last game of the regular season at Ford Field against the Vikings with a division title on the line. Win No. 10 for the Lions could make a lot of people happy.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.