It’s been a wild ride for Detroit Lions fans this season. While the beginning of the year warned of bad times to come—losses to the Jets and 49ers was not the way this team wanted to kick off the season—wins over the Patriots and Packers were good enough to hold optimism through October. But a disheartening November filled with losses to the Bears (twice) and Vikings left fans wanting full-scale changes, including some hoping Detroit moves on from Matthew Stafford.
But December has brought some holiday cheer. After a competitive loss to the Rams and a fairly decisive road win over the Cardinals, Lions confidence is the highest it’s been since Detroit’s best performance of the year—a win over the Dolphins.
Of course, we’re talking about just a 40 percent confidence score from our FanPulse crowd. Detroit is still very much struggling overall. The offense has been stripped of just about every skill player besides Kenny Golladay, the offensive line is inconsistent, and the secondary still has serious coverage issues.
That being said, there are also serious signs of improvement, especially on defense. The Lions have allowed 61 rushing yards or fewer in four of their last five games. In those weeks, they’ve allowed just a total of 358 rushing yards (fourth fewest) and 3.48 yards per carry (third). And despite losing Kerryon Johnson since the Panthers game, Detroit has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games.
In total, the Lions have 335 rushing yards over those three game (16th) and are averaging a respectable 4.14 YPC (20th). That’s proof that Detroit’s rushing improvement goes beyond just adding Kerryon Johnson, there’s some work getting done on the offensive line.
Contrast that with the Lions’ NFC North foes, the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings currently hold the sixth playoff seed in the NFC and have a 56.5 percent chance to make the playoffs per Football Outsiders. But don’t tell that to Vikings fans. After Monday night’s embarrassing loss to the Seahawks, the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and fans are panicking:
That’s just a 17 percent confidence rate, down four percent after their Week 13 loss to the Patriots.
Interestingly enough, the Packers saw their overall confidence rise from 40 to 45 percent after the team fired head coach Mike McCarthy and responded with a convincing win over the Falcons. As you’d expect, Bears fans are beaming with confidence (96 percent) after their huge Week 14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.