The Detroit Lions are giving us something to believe in

Lions are now 6-7 heading into road matchup vs. Jets

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 11: Jameson Williams #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts after a play the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) (REY DEL RIO, 2022 Getty Images)

Your Detroit Lions have won five of six, and are trending towards a winning record after a big win at home vs. Minnesota. Where is this team going?


♨️ Lions are sizzling -- are you buying in?

Just six weeks ago, we were all wondering if the Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes era was going to be just another lost Detroit Lions tenure, caught up in hopelessness and despair. The team was 1-6, and fans were looking at mock drafts.

Then they turned it around.

Since then, the Lions have won five of six games, improving their record to a remarkable 6-7, and they’re right in the thick of the mix for a wild card playoff spot in the NFC. The odds remain against them, but the fact that they’re still in it is a true football miracle. No team that starts 1-6 ever makes a run for a playoff spot.

And they aren’t doing it with lucky wins. They’re playing good football, on both sides of the ball. They’re playing clean football. They’re playing team football. They have the 10th fewest penalties in the league. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s markedly improved from what this team looked like at 1-6.

😤 Goff earning respect

Lions quarterback Jared Goff is having the best season of his career. When he was traded here in the Stafford swap, most saw him as a stop-gap measure in a Lions rebuild. But the best case scenario was always that Goff turned his career around and earned the franchise quarterback job. He is moving closer and closer to doing it. It seems pretty likely now that the Lions won’t be drafting a quarterback in the first round of next year’s draft, and Goff may even get an extension.

Goff has thrown for 3,352 yards this season, 8th most in the league, 22 touchdowns, 5th most, and has 46 throws for more than 20 yards, 3rd most behind Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. Whoa. He’s thrown seven interceptions, among the lowest in the top 10 passers.

Much of Goff’s success is due to the protection he’s been getting from a top-tier offensive line. He’s been sacked just 19 times, one of the lowest marks for any starting quarterback in the league. A consistent rushing game has opened up the play-action for Goff, which they use a ton.

It also helps to have Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has 82 catches for 898 yards, sixth most in the league, along with six touchdowns.

💪 Defense making strides

Earlier in the season, the offense was working just fine, but the defense was giving up was seemed line endless yards and points. No team could possible win with a defense that looked like Swiss cheese.

But in the last six weeks, the defense has played much better, led by the young core -- Aidan Hutchinson, Kerby Joseph, Malcom Rodriguez, Jeff Okudah and Justin Houston -- who have been forcing turnovers, giving the defense some much needed juice.

Aidan Hutchinson is the likely NFC rookie of the year, with a team-leading seven sacks, and two picks. He’s getting pressure around the edge on almost every play, too.

➡️➡️➡️➡️ Fan forum: Are you buying the red-hot Detroit Lions? ⬅️⬅️⬅️⬅️

What’s next and how about those playoffs?

It depends who you ask, but during last night’s Sunday Night Football, Steve Kornacki said the Lions improved their playoff odds from 6% to 17% with the win over Minnesota.

They’ll need some help from the Giants, Commanders, maybe the Cowboys and the Seahawks. Three of those four lost on Sunday, which improved things. But the Lions will definitely need to keep winning to stay alive.

Next Sunday, the Lions take on the Jets -- probably the toughest game they have left. As it stands, the Jets are favored in basically a pick-em, at -1.5. But on paper, the Lions should have a good chance at beating the Jets on the road. The Jets offense is struggling. Their defense is pretty good, but can they slow down the red-hot Lions?

After the Jets -- the Lions have the Panthers, Bears and Packers. All winnable games (they’ve already beaten the Bears and Packers this season).

I’m just happy to have something to play for in December. Let’s have some fun.



About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.