The Green Bay Packers have been the class of the NFC North for several years now, and most NFL analysts believe they’re destined to repeat as division champions in 2017.
That is, except for Chris Simms.
You may know Simms as the former NFL quarterback drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003. You may also know him as the son of Phil Simms, the 2-time Super Bowl champion and CBS sportscaster.
Nowadays, the younger Simms is an NFL analyst for Bleacher Report, and he just ranked all 32 NFL teams going into the 2017 preseason. He’s got the Detroit Lions at No. 11 – ahead of the Packers at No. 14.
“It shouldn’t be a two-man show in Detroit this season,” Simms wrote, referring to quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. “The Lions added Ricky Wagner and T.J. Lang. This gives the team a legit offensive line, which is exciting. As long as Ameer Abdullah is healthy, this is going to be a much tougher offense to deal with.”
“One of the weakest parts of the team last year was the linebacker position. To fix that, Detroit added former Florida linebacker, Jarrad Davis. For my money, Davis was more physically impressive than Reuben Foster, who many saw as a top-three talent.”
“The Lions also added depth to the defensive line and a young (defensive back) in (Teez) Tabor to their secondary. With these improvements, they are a team to watch.”
Simms also argues that without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers would be a 6-10 or 7-9 team at best. “He needs a better team around him,” Simms wrote.
Most NFL rankings we’ve seen around the web have the Lions somewhere between Nos. 17-22. This is the first we’ve seen the Lions behind the Packers, who have won the NFC North five of the past six years, including last season.
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are No. 1 in Simms’ rankings, followed by the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.