Are the Lions ready for prime time?

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

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

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

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

Can they beat the Chiefs on the night they raise a banner? Can they win again at Lambeau Field exactly three weeks later, for the first of two 2023 Thursday games against the Packers?

They’ve got a Monday night home game on Week 8 against the Raiders, the night before Halloween. They have a Week 17 Saturday night game at Dallas.

And there could be more, thanks to the expanded flex options for 2023. And if the Lions are in the mix for flexing, it will mean they are having a good year.

For 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 so long since they’ve been consistently good or that people love coach Dan Campbell or some combination of the three, the Lions are getting the kind of attention they rarely enjoy as the season approaches.

Whether that vibe continues depends on whether they win — with two early-season prime-time tests that will show either that the Lions are real or that they’re the same old team that hasn’t won a playoff game since George H.W. Bush was the president.

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