Are the Lions ready for prime time?

When we last saw the Lions, they were closing the door on Aaron Rodgers’ tenure with the Packers, keeping Green Bay out of the playoffs in the final game of the 2022 regular season.

We’ll see them again in five nights, in the first game of 2023.

Are they ready to face the Chiefs at the start of the season? That remains to be seen.

They started very slowly in 2022, with a 1-6 record. They turned it around, almost making the playoffs. Even though they knew they wouldn’t be able to get in by the time the Week 18 game started Sunday night, they played hard and well and kept the Packers from getting in.

Can they beat the Chiefs on the night they raise the flag? Can they win again at Lambeau Field in exactly three weeks, in Thursday’s first of two 2023 games against the Packers?

They have a home game on Monday night in Week 8 against the Raiders, the night before Halloween. They have a Week 17 matchup Saturday night in Dallas.

And there could be more, thanks to expanded flex options for 2023. And if the Lions are in the mix at the crease, that means they’re having a good year.

Right now, the Lions have become a magnet for preseason hype. Whether it’s the win in the regular season finale or the fact that it’s been a long time since they’ve been consistently good or that people like coach Dan Campbell or some combination of the three, the Lions are getting the kind of attention they rarely enjoy heading into the season.

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Whether that atmosphere continues depends on whether they win — with two prime-time tests at the start of the season that will either show the Lions are for real or are the same old team that hasn’t won a playoff game since George H.W. President.

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