Predicting the Detroit Lions starting defense for Week 1 matchup vs. Chiefs
Can the Detroit Lions step up big in 2023? That is a question that many are asking as the Lions prepare to take the field on Thursday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. After a horrendous first half of the 2022 season, the Lions' defense really stepped up down the stretch, and following some key additions during the offseason, the hope is that they can take another step forward in 2023. Here are the defensive players who I believe will start tonight against the Chiefs.
Who is on the Detroit Lions Starting Defense?
- EDGE – Aidan Hutchinson
- EDGE – Charles Harris
- DT – Alim McNeill
- DT – Benito Jones
- LB – Alex Anzalone
- LB – Derrick Barnes
- CB – Cam Sutton
- CB – Jerry Jacobs
- NB – Brian Branch
- S – C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- S – Kerby Joseph
Who Else Could Crack the Starting Lineup?
Similar to the Lions' starting offense, I believe the defense is pretty much set at this point. With that being said, it is just a matter of time before rookie LB Jack Campbell starts at linebacker, but for now, I am thinking that Derrick Barnes gets the nod.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Reinforced Defensive Lineup: The Detroit Lions are banking on their revamped defense to step up in a big way in 2023. After a lackluster start to the 2022 season, the Lions made strategic additions during the offseason to bolster their defensive lineup. With standout players like Aidan Hutchinson and Charles Harris leading the charge on the edges and Alim McNeill and Benito Jones anchoring the interior, the Lions aim to establish a formidable defensive front.
- Linebacker Dynamics: The linebacker corps is a point of interest in the Lions' starting defense. While Derrick Barnes is expected to start initially, the emergence of rookie LB Jack Campbell looms as a potential game-changer. The competition within the linebacker unit adds depth and versatility, offering the Lions defensive flexibility as they face formidable opponents like the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Secondary Strength: The Lions' secondary features promising talents such as Cam Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, Brian Branch, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Kerby Joseph. The hope is that this group can build on the momentum from the latter half of the 2022 season. Their ability to disrupt passing plays and create turnovers will be crucial to the Lions' defensive success, especially as they aim to make a statement against the Chiefs in their season opener.
Bottom Line: Will the Defense RISE UP?
I am telling you right now. If the Detroit Lions' defense ranks in the top half of the league in 2023, they will easily win their division, and they WILL make a run in the NFL Playoffs. There were plenty of signs down the stretch in 2022 that showed improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Now, it's time to take the next step.