Just five games into year two of the Dan Campbell era and Detroit Lions fans’ confidence in the team has plummeted.
Last season, the Campbell-led Lions opened the season with an 89 percent confidence rating, but as the losses piled up, confidence slowly declined, eventually bottoming out at 63 percent after a loss to the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving dropped the team’s record to 0-10-1.
The following week, the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings and confidence shot up to 88 percent. For the most part, Lions fans' confidence in the team increased from that point forward as the team found its rhythm along with a few more wins. And as they entered the offseason, confidence levels peaked at 100 percent as expectations grew.
When the Lions opened up the 2022 season, confidence in the team remained high, checking in at 98 percent. After beating the Washington Commanders in convincing fashion in Week 2, that percentage increased to 99 percent as expectations that they turned a corner percolated through Detroit. A loss to the Vikings dropped confidence to 88 percent, and even after a close, but bad, loss to the Seahawks, there was only a slight dip to 86 percent.
But after being shut out by the Patriots in Week 5, a loss in which seemingly nothing went right, Lions fans’ confidence in the team has plummeted to 47 percent.
Fans’ frustration with the team is certainly warranted. The Lions showed early in the season that they were capable of competing, but in Foxborough, they were anything but competitive. After getting a taste of what this team might be capable of, expectations grew, and taking such a drastic step back has people concerned throughout the fan base.
“I think everybody is in the same boat here,” Campbell said last Monday. “Everybody is upset. Everybody is frustrated. Nobody likes losing here. I think everybody knows we’re better than 1-4, but we haven’t showed that collectively.”
The Lions are arguably better—or should be—than their record indicates, but they haven’t shown it. Certainly, things like injuries have taken their toll on the roster, but it’s the inability to get out of their own way that has really hurt this team the most. Three of their four loss were by a field goal or less, as their ability to close out games has cost them victories.
It’s understandable to be skeptical of where this team is going based on their recent performances, but in the NFL, it only takes a smart decision or two to swing the direction of an entire game. So far, the Lions have fallen short when those decisions have mattered.
But that leads us to our second SB Nation Reacts poll question of the week: Have the Lions hit “rock bottom”?
“To me, it’s about as bad as it gets,” Campbell said following the most recent loss. “I mean, this is worse. You know, this is where we’re at. And sometimes it’s going to get bad before it gets better. And, you know, I believe we hit rock bottom. So now the only place to go is back up.”
Based on the survey’s results, about half of Lions’ fans agree with Campbell, as 46 percent voted that they also believe this is “rock bottom”, which lines up with the confidence poll.
With the Lions on a bye this week, it would be surprising to see fans' confidence change much over the next week, and with a difficult schedule awaiting them when they return to game action—their next three opponents all have winning records: Dallas Cowboys (4-1), Miami Dolphins (3-2), and Green Bay Packers (3-2)—it’s challenging to find optimism right now.
But as we have seen in the past, winning cures all. If the Lions can get back to being competitive, and start making smart decisions to close out games, confidence levels could quickly rise again. Campbell believes they’re at a point where they can only go up and the team is better than their record. Now is the time to prove that.