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The Detroit Lions are going to win the NFC North for the first time ever

Yeah, ever. Because the division is only 12 years old. But still, Detroit hasn't won a division title since it earned the NFC Central crown back in 1993. Since then, they've taken part in only five playoff games, all of which took place on the road, and all of which were losses. Only the Cleveland Browns have a worse overall winning percentage during that span.

But the stars are aligned this year for the Lions to finally recapture a division crown and maybe even win a playoff game. 

OK, maybe we got a little carried away with the second clause in the above sentence, but Detroit definitely has to be considered the favorite to win the NFC North right now.

The Lions have won three of their last four games, while Green Bay has lost two in a row and the Bears have lost four of their last six. Both of those teams are dealing with injuries to their starting quarterbacks as they lose momentum. As a result, the Lions lead the division by a game, which is particularly dangerous when you consider their schedule from here on out.

Detroit's final seven opponents are a combined 24-41. Of the seven, only the Packers are above .500, and barely. 

Sure, the Bears have only one more game with a team that currently possesses a winning record, but the Lions have already swept the season series with Chicago. That means they'd have to make up two games in a seven-week period, which won't be easy with Jay Cutler out week-to-week and key defensive starters Henry Melton and Charles Tillman on injured reserve.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers remains out for the Packers. Life isn't easy without the league's all-time highest-rated quarterback, especially when your offensive line is also a mess and your defense wasn't particularly good in the first place. Green Bay might be the most talented team in this division, but it'll be hard to come back and win it with Rodgers missing at least a few more weeks. The Packers' remaining sked isn't too hard overall, but they have only three more home games and have to deal with a streaking Giants team Sunday.

As weak as Green Bay's and Chicago's schedules are, Detroit's is easier. Throw in that they already hold the division lead and are much, much healthier and I'm ready to call it. Detroit will host a playoff game this January for the first time in two decades.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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