Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. At least that's been the story for the Detroit Lions during the Matt Stafford era. Heck, it's been a Detroit Lions story for the last 35 years! But right here and right now, the Lions are actually being looked at as a team that could and should win the NFC North this season.

That's right, not the team that could maybe win eight or nine games and possibly earn a wild-card spot, but the team that should win the division now that the Green Bay Packers will be without Aaron Rodgers most likely until the 2018 season following his broken collarbone injury.

Rodgers is arguably the best QB in the game today. Like him or not you can't deny that. He also is a Lions killer. The former Cal star has a 13-3 career record against the Lions in his career. Without him in the Packers lineup, NFL oddsmakers are favoring Detroit to have the edge in the North. Why? Because of Matt Stafford.

Who would you choose?

One of the main reasons NFL experts are now favoring the Lions to win the NFC North is solely based upon the quarterback position. Of the four quarterbacks who will roam the gridiron for the NFC North teams, Matt Stafford is by far the best one on the field. Add to that, he is getting paid more than any quarterback in the entire NFL and the pressure has just doubled.

It's definitely not that the other starting QBs in the North Division aren't NFL material, but most people would agree that Matt Stafford should be better than Minnesota’s Case Keenum, Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky and Green Bay’s backup, Brett Hundley.

Once again, no knock on these guys, but they are all backups for a reason. Stafford’s experience and knowledge of the game are leaps and bounds ahead of the other three signal callers in the North.

Schedule favors great shot at North title

The old saying is “the games are played on the field, not on paper.” While that is true, Lions fans still have to like their team's chances of winning the Nfc North Division and making the postseason.

Detroit has a bye-week in Week 7, however, four of the next five games are all games they should win.

The Lions will face the Steelers at Ford Field on Oct. 29. The Steelers will provide a tough challenge, but the following four games are all lined up for a win - at least on paper!

Following the Steelers matchup, Detroit will play at Green Bay, home against the Cleveland Browns, at Chicago, then home to face the Minnesota Vikings. This stretch of games will reveal how far this team is going to go in 2017.

Add to this that Detroit will finish the season with two of their last three games at Ford Field (Week 15 home vs. Chicago, Week 16 at Cincinnati, and Week 17 home vs. Green Bay), then I say this: If the Lions don’t win the NFC North this season, then when?

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