Lions find rhythm with local star Aidan Hutchinson


You may remember last spring, in the week before the draft, when Aidan Hutchinson, who was going to be a top-three pick, said openly he wanted to be picked by the Lions. The Michigan resident wanted it, his family wanted it. How cool would it be that a University of Michigan star would actually want to play for the woebegone Lions, and then it would actually work out?

And it did, of course. The Jaguars, picking first, passed on Hutchinson for Travon Walker, and the Lions took about eight seconds to pick Hutchinson. So what did he know, or why was he so intent on coming to a franchise that had been lost at sea for three generations?

“I got the chance to come somewhere and be part of coming alive and building a great team,” he said after the 11-point win over the previously 10-2 Vikings Sunday in Detroit. “I just wanted to come into the season and learn something every single game and make strides every game. I’m happy with my development so far.”

In the third quarter Sunday, with the Lions up 15, Hutchinson sacked Kirk Cousins for a seven-yard loss; the Vikings settled for a field goal on that drive. He had two hits of Cousins and three pressures, continuing a strong rookie year—seven sacks, 43 total pressures.

“The chemistry we’ve got right now, it’s kind of unmatched,” Hutchinson said. “We’re so complimentary right now offensively and defensively and we never flinch at the end. It’s no longer the same old Lions. We’ve overcome that. Now we’re on our way to becoming a really good football team.”

Detroit’s been able to score all season, but the turnaround coincided with a defensive improvement. The Lions have allowed 20.3 points a game in their 5-1 run. What’s interesting is that now GM Brad Holmes should be able to use his two first-round picks (Detroit’s, and the one from the Rams from the Matthew Stafford trade) on strengthening the roster rather than zeroing in on a quarterback after Jared Goff has had the kind of resurgent season he needed to have to seal his grip on the job. Maybe they find a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, or a bookend for Hutchinson, or a corner to team with Jeff Okudah. Whatever, with Goff looking better than a short-term fix, this is a team with a significantly brighter near future than we thought back on Labor Day.

With the Giants and Seattle fading, the 6-7 Lions might squeeze into the seventh playoff spot with a 3-1 finish. And 3-1 is possible against this slate: at Jets, at Panthers, Bears, at Packers.

One more thing about Hutchinson. Talk about a local boy. He has lived his football life in the state of Michigan. It’s pretty interesting just how close everything has been for Hutchinson.

Hutchinson went to high school at Divine Child High School in Dearborn. He went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He practices in Allen Park, for Detroit in the NFL. He plays at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

From Divine Child High to Michigan Stadium, as the crow flies: 27.0 miles to the west.

From Divine Child High to the Lions’ practice facility, as the crow flies: 4.7 miles to the southeast.

From Divine Child High to Ford Field, as the crow flies: 13.2 miles to the east.

“It is bizarre, to be honest with you,” Hutchinson said. “I’m taking the same freeway I took to Divine Child on my way to the Lions’ practice facility. I just get off [Interstate] 96 a little bit later. It’s so weird. I’m just so grateful to be in this position and to have the ability to be close to my family. I’m already a homebody. Being in this environment just allows me to thrive. I’m able to be myself.”

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!