The 2021 Detroit Lions are a very different team than last year. The question that remains, however, is whether they are any more competitive.
There is a new sheriff in Motown as new head coach Dan Campbell and new general manager Brad Holmes will try what so many before have attempted but failed to do; turn the Detroit Lions into winners. History has proven this to be a virtual mission impossible, but maybe, just maybe, this sad-sack franchise finally has the right people in place for success.
This complete change in direction and philosophy starts at the top with principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp. She spared no expense doing what her parents never did; getting some actual football knowledge in the building.
I’m not saying that hiring Chris Spielman is the equivalent of landing Vince Lombardi or Bill Belichick, but he was a student of the game as a player who never missed an assignment. As a broadcaster, he kept the same mentality and his knowledge and presence shouldn’t be overlooked.
Many consider Brad Holmes to be one of the up-and-coming front office men in the game. The Matthew Stafford trade brought back more in return than anyone expected in draft capital and a serviceable passer in the form of Jared Goff.
Holmes also put together what appears to be a very solid draft that lays the foundation of what the Lions are building. The Breshad Perriman free-agent signing didn’t work out, but to Holmes’ credit, he was fine with cutting his losses by letting Perriman go.
Meanwhile, Dan Campbell has become the face of the Detroit Lions. From knee cap biting, to straight talk with the press, to standing by his word that the players who will be on the roster will have to earn it on the field, he has not given idle coach-speak or contradicted himself in any way.
The players also seem to have completely bought into Campbell’s vision. How far the Lions will go this season under the influence of Detroit’s new regime is yet to be seen, but everything seems to point in the right direction long-term.
However, we are focused on the 2021 season right now and how the NFC North will play out. With that in mind, here are my predictions for how the division will shake out when the dust has settled, starting with the NFC North champions.