Intense anticipation hangs over Allen Park as the Detroit Lions opened their training camp on Wednesday. Fans are more than ready to see their favorite team back in action – further proven by the speed at which training camp tickets were snapped up. But the big question swirling in the wind isn’t about the fans’ readiness, it’s whether the Lions themselves are up to snuff.
People aren’t just buying the Lions hype, they are betting on it.
NBC Sports reports an unprecedented 36% of the bets placed at BetMGM on the 2023-2024 NFC champion are backing the Lions. Even with the Eagles still the favored to win at +260 after their victory last season, BetMGM is noting a drastic shift in betting trends. The Lions’ odds have dramatically improved from +1100 to +850, sparking conversations around the city: Are the Lions ready for a championship run?
Dan Campbell’s “Monster”
Louis Riddick, a former player and respected NFL analyst for ESPN, stirred the hype cauldron saying, “Dan Campbell is building a monster in Detroit.” With a newfound conviction, Riddick challenges all to “Forget what you think of the Lions,” asserting that “(Campbell) is going to have the last laugh.” A laugh that, if he’s right, would echo through the halls of Ford Field and into the heart of a city desperate for a title.
Despite their noteworthy 2022 performance, the Lions failed to make the playoffs. With a long championship dry spell dating back to 1957, the time for winning is now. Yet, the Panthers game from week 15 of the last season serves as a bitter reminder of what happens when the Lions are not on their A-game.
Ghosts of Panthers Past
After their disastrous start last season, the Lions managed to pull off an impressive turnaround, winning 6 out of 7 games before stumbling again in week 15. In stark contrast, the Panthers were wallowing at 6-8, struggling to find any rhythm. But that rhythm found them against the Lions, amassing an eye-popping 320 yards on the ground.
The result? A crushing 37-23 defeat. “We just weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell conceded post-match. “We weren’t physically, mentally, or emotionally ready.”
Campbell, determined not to let history repeat itself, ensures that “We’re going to do everything we can in our power to correct everything that came up.” He’s adamant that his Lions will be “100 percent ready” to face the challenges of the 2023 season.
The Lions ended the last season on a high note, defeating the Packers and leaving Aaron Rodgers out of the playoffs. However, kicking off their new season against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, followed by five potential games where they could be favored, the Lions must prove they can take care of business.
Are the Detroit Lions Ready?
The Lions need to be ready, not just for their opening game, but to sustain the momentum throughout the season. While few are expecting a 6-1 start to the season, a solid beginning would certainly set the tone. The Lions must tap into their potential, not merely to meet the growing expectations of their fans and bettors, but to rewrite their narrative.
As Campbell wisely pointed out, the hype won’t matter if they don’t put in the work. In a season filled with soaring expectations, it’s time for the Lions to roar louder, prouder, and show the world that they’re ready for the challenge.
To borrow Coach Campbell’s words, they’ve got to be “ready to roll.”
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han – USA TODAY NETWORK