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O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Breaking down the Lions' remaining games

The Detroit Lions have built a healthy position to rest on in their first eight games, but as they return from their bye week they have no desire to rest on what they have accomplished.

The Lions have a 6-2 won-loss record that makes them solid favorites to win the NFC North.

But with nine games left in the regular season, there is more work to do.

"We have a lot of games left to play," said veteran offensive tackle Taylor Decker. "The only thing we can do is go week to week and handle our business.

"Crazy things can happen in this business. We know that. We aren't going to take anything for granted."

Following is a breakdown of the Lions' last nine opponents, how the opponents rank from one to nine, and the Lions' win formula for all nine games.

View some of the best photos from the first half of the Detroit Lions 2023 season.

Week 10 at LA Chargers

The Chargers are not lacking in talent. Quarterback Justin Herbert, wide receiver Keenan Allen and edge rusher Joey Bosa are all premier talents, but they've been struggling around the .500 level.

Final 9 Rank: 5, on talent alone.

Lions' win formula: Attack. The Chargers rank near the bottom on defense.

Week 11 vs. Bears

The Bears have had a winning record once in the last 10 seasons, and they're on track to make it one in 11. Third-year QB Justin Fields had two straight games with four TD passes before going down with an injured hand.

Final 9 rank: 9

Lions' win formula: No interceptions or fumbles. Don't make it easy for the Bears with turnovers.

Week 12 vs. Packers (Thanksgiving Day)

The Lions have a four-game winning streak over the Packers, and three were with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. A win over the Packers in the final game of the 2022 season kept the Packers out of the playoffs. A 34-20 win in Week 4 at Lambeau Field this year showed that the Lions have taken command of this matchup.

Final 9 rank: 7

Lions' win formula: Keep the pressure on QB Jordan Love and never let up – just like they did in the first game.

Week 13 at Saints

It's a homecoming of sorts for head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Both came to the Lions from the Saints.

The Saints are in contention in the NFC South with the help of an old face, running back Alvin Kamara, and a new one, quarterback Derek Carr.

Final 9 rank: 4

Lions' win formula: Play solid football. The Saints are used to contending.

Week 14 at Bears

A rematch of the Week 11 game with a change in venue – from Ford Field in Detroit to Soldier Field in Chicago. The venue doesn't matter. The Lions should be favorites.

Final 9 rank: 8

Lions' win formula: Containing Fields—assuming he's healthy—is of primary importance. His legs are more dangerous than his arm.

Week 15 vs. Broncos

A 24-9 win at home over the Chiefs in Week 8 showed there was some new life in the Broncos. Russell Wilson threw three TD passes.

Final 9 rank: 6

Lions' win formula: Keep Wilson in the pocket. Don't let him get out and play like he did in his prime at Seattle.

Week 16 at Vikings

The Vikings were playing good ball when they put together a three-game winning streak to get to 4-4 and within two games of the Lions in the NFC North. That's when misfortune struck – an Achilles injury that ended Kirk Cousins' season at a time when he was playing some of the best ball of his career.

Overall, the Vikings were playing well as a team, but not to the level of their 13-win season of 2022. They can still give the Lions a battle at home.

Final 9 rank: 2

Lions' win formula: Play like it's Cousins at quarterback. The Vikings showed that they had an improving roster.

Week 17 at Cowboys

The Cowboys are in the top four or five of the NFC. They've had some good wins and some bad losses.

Final 9 rank: 1

Lions' win formula: The Cowboys are trying to win with their running game. That plays to the strength of the Lions' defense. Should be an interesting matchup.

Week 18 vs. Vikings

My not very bold prediction says the Lions will have first place clinched, and if there's anything on the line for either team it will be the Vikings trying to make the playoffs, and the Lions playing for a higher seed. That's not a bad way to finish a regular season.

Final 9 rank: 3. Not the same team without Cousins.

Lions' win formula: Play the situation and the percentages. It all depends on what's at stake for the Lions.

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