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5 Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Will Win the NFC North

5 Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Will Win the NFC North

Jim Caldwell Lions
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It seems to be too good to be true for Detroit Lions fans, but this season, there is some optimism heading into 2014. The team had a great offseason that was filled with a new and exciting coaching staff additions and some incredibly talented prospects. While the NFC North has consistently been a tough division, here are five reasons why the Lions can finish at the top of the division in 2014.

5. The Lions Were So Close Last Year

Matthew Stafford Lions
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5. The Lions Were So Close Last Year

Matthew Stafford Lions
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The Lions blew a golden opportunity to win the division last season after the Packers and Bears struggled without their starting quarterbacks. The Lions had a 6-3 record with just seven games remaining. Unfortunately, the Lions blew six fourth-quarter leads and finished 7-9. If the team plays like a 6-3 team all season long rather than a 1-6 team, the Lions will definitely have a great chance to be crowned division champions.

4. New Coordinators with Diverse Schemes

Joe Lombardi Saints
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4. New Coordinators with Diverse Schemes

Joe Lombardi Saints
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As part of Jim Caldwell's coaching staff, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will give Detroit a spark on that side of the ball. His schemes in New Orleans often created matchup problems for opposing defenses, which Scott Linehan's rarely did last year. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will run a more attacking style of defense that will feature more blitzes, which Gunther Cunningham rarely did last year.

3. The Rest of the Division

Aaron Rodgers Packers
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3. The Rest of the Division

Aaron Rodgers Packers
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Last season, the Green Bay Packers won the NFC North after finishing just 8-7-1. With question marks surrounding the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, particularly on defense, the Lions are not that far away in terms of being able to compete in the NFC North. Detroit went 4-2 in the division last year, sweeping Chicago, and were able to split a pair with Green Bay.

2. Jim Caldwell Replcing Jim Schwartz

Jim Caldwell Lions
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2. Jim Caldwell Replcing Jim Schwartz

Jim Caldwell Lions
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This season, instead of the fiery-tempered Jim Schwartz, the Lions have the cool, calm and collected Jim Caldwell running the show. His calming presence will help turn a poor locker room culture into a disciplined team. Instead of the inmates running the asylum, Caldwell will assert his influence right away. It also doesn't hurt that he has Super Bowl experience.

1. Strength of Schedule

Kyle Van Noy Lions
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1. Strength of Schedule

Kyle Van Noy Lions
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Last season, the Lions had the second-toughest strength of schedule with their opponents having a combined .539 winning percentage. This season, Detroit has just the 16th-toughest strength of schedule, with their opponents having a combined .492 winning percentage. If the Lions were able to win seven games with that schedule last year, imagine how good they can be with a relatively weaker schedule.