If the NFL schedule release is about creating storylines, the league certainly did a nice job for the Detroit Lions in 2022.
Not only will the Lions get to tangle with their classic rivals in the NFC North, but the schedule offers them a shot at playing some teams that they don’t see as often from the AFC East as well as the NFC East. One of these matchups already stands out like a sore thumb as a very underrated contest for the Lions.
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The Lions and New York Jets will play for the first time since 2018, and that season, Detroit’s season started with tons of optimism. Matt Patricia had taken over on the sideline, and the Lions were going to start dominating the NFL behind their own version of the Patriot Way. After an early Quandre Diggs interception, everyone felt like the Lions were off and running. That’s where the party stopped for good in Detroit. A 48-17 loss resulted, and the start played a big role in dooming Patricia’s tenure for good, even though it was barely underway.
Fast forward a few years and both teams are set to rebuild once more. Each are looking for coaches in the same 2021 cycle. New York lands on the hometown favorite for Lions fans in Dearborn’s Robert Saleh, while Detroit managed to hire Dan Campbell, a player who once called the Meadowlands home, albeit for the New York Giants.
So far, while the results haven’t been there in terms of wins and losses for both teams, there’s been glimpses of hope for each side. The Jets managed to knock off Tennessee and Cincinnati, while the Lions scored upset wins over Arizona and Green Bay down the stretch.
This year, the sides will tangle in Week 15, and the game will be a fun one for both sides. Either could be in the playoff conversation at the time of the game, so a win or loss could mean a great deal. If not, the game could be important in terms of jockeying for pick positioning in 2023. Either way, something is likely to be on the line for both sides, and that’s not where the intrigue stops.
Jets Also Counted as 2022 Team That Drafted Well
The battle between Detroit and New York will be a good battle of teams that not only have similar tough-minded coaches and staffs, but have also been seen to have put on a show in the 2022 draft. While the Lions’ eight-player class impressed many people, the Jets may have scored a major as well for their fans with Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson. Their selections drew rave reviews, and have seemingly set the team up well for the future. The young talent on the field in this game will be amazing, with the Lions also featuring Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams from the first-round.
Seeing which players from this class play a role instantly is an excellent subplot for this game. Both teams have young rosters and multiple players from the last draft that could figure to play a fast role for them in 2022. That could set this matchup up as one with the future in mind. Is it possible that the Lions and Jets could meet in bigger playoff games in the future? It would have to be a Super Bowl, but theoretically, anything is possible if the classes of each team find a way to develop as hoped.
Years from now, folks could be looking back at this game as a potential early bellwether of sorts if each team’s future finally manages to pan out.
Historically, Lions Not Overmatched By Jets
Another intriguing storyline between the teams this year revolves around the fact that someone is going to take the all-time series lead in wins. At this point, the Lions and Jets are tied historically 7-7, meaning 2022 will be the rubber match between the sides. That’s significant for the Lions, considering that even as bad as they have been historically, they are neck and neck with the Jets, even though the teams play in a separate conference.
The Lions put together a stretch of four wins from 1991-2000, but have lost four out of the last five since, with their last win coming on the road in 2014, a 24-17 triumph. That likely feels like ages ago to the Lions and their fans, however, meaning the team will be hungry for another win.
In terms of storylines, history, draft positioning and players, Detroit’s matchup with the Jets is setting up to be pretty special in 2022. Due to the recent records of the teams and their overall history, many will sleep on it, but that wouldn’t be a wise choice at this point in time.
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