Popular sports talk show, “The Herd,” with Colin Cowherd, recently stirred the pot in Detroit. Special guest Vic Tafur, senior writer for The Athletic covering the Las Vegas Raiders and the NFL, joined the show to discuss his “Best bets” and aired his predictions for the NFL’s upcoming season. When the topic of the Detroit Lions came up, the subheading asked, “Is Detroit getting too much hype?”
Laced with skepticism, Cowherd poses a direct question to Tafur:
You have the Lions under…First of all, they’re a fun story. They’ve been so bad forever it’s fun. I think there is implosion potential here. Why do you have them under?
The Lions would achieve UNDER 9.5 wins.
Overhype or Justified Optimism?
This prediction raises a crucial question: are the Lions being overhyped, or is the optimism justified?
The perspective of a season with 8-or-more losses contradicts the widespread belief that the Lions are primed to win at least 10 games this season. After a strong 2022-23 season that saw the Lions winning 8 of the final 10 games, faith in the team’s momentum is high.
Tafur, responding to Cowherd’s question on the predicted “under” performance, expressed doubt when considering the Lions would simply pick up right where they left off:
Last year, they had such a great run… I just think that there has to be a little bit of a regression this year… it’s a tough schedule, I think a small regression is not going to be too surprising.
Lions’ Off-Season Moves Beg to Differ
Despite Tafur’s skepticism, the Lions have been far from idle during the offseason.
The front office has made moves to strengthen their weakest aspect from last year: defense, particularly their secondary. Notable free agents such as CJ Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley, and Cam Sutton have been lured to Detroit. They added depth to this group with 2nd round selection of high-value safety, Brian Branch. This came only one round after Detroit sniped Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell in the 1st round. A move that brings strength to the front seven and a much needed force to support Aaron Glenn’s run defense.
In addition, the NFL’s first ranked offense was further strengthened. The Lions drafted explosive Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the 1st round and Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta early in the 2nd round. Furthermore, former Bears running back David Montgomery signed early in free agency, enhancing the Lions offensive identity behind one of the league’s best offensive lines.
An Invitation for Debate
Given the divergence between Tafur’s prediction and the Lions’ recent roster improvements, it’s time for the fans to weigh in.
Do you agree with Cowherd and Tafur’s cautious approach, or do you believe the Lions are primed for another strong season? Are the off-season moves enough to sustain the momentum, or is a “regression” inevitable?
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For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
Original Photo Credit: Lon Horwedel – USA TODAY Sports