The Detroit Lions have won five of six games, and now that their playoff odds are comfortably in the double digits, the national media has finally taken notice of just how well they’ve been playing. I suppose knocking off a 10-2 Minnesota Vikings team will do that.
The Lions are not just being mentioned here or there on this Victory Monday. They’re being featured in just about every publication. This team is making believers out of a lot of people, including some that are publicly apologizing for their doubts about coach Dan Campbell and other things happening in Detroit.
Let’s start right there with Football Outsiders’ Mike Tanier, who offered up this oddly-specific mea culpa in his column Monday:
We were wrong to suggest in early October that the Detroit Lions were frauds and that Dan Campbell should be tied in a rucksack drenched in deer urine and hung in a forest tree stand until some Texas college coordinator finds him and claims him as a tight ends coach. Those weren’t our exact words, but it’s a pretty accurate paraphrase.
NFL.com’s Jim Trotter took a more hands-on approach, making a trip down to Detroit to witness the Lions in person. He has an entire article devoted to Detroit’s turnaround up on NFL.com, focusing on quarterback Jared Goff. Here’s a snippet:
Offensively, the Lions entered Sunday leading the league by scoring 30 points or more six times. They were ranked No. 6 in scoring and No. 1 in red-zone efficiency. And yet, early on this season, Goff was being dogged by turnovers. He threw at least one interception in five of Detroit’s first six games, with two being returned for touchdowns. Was he trying to compensate for a struggling defense? Was he pressing to show the Lions did not get taken when they traded for him last year?
Whatever the reason, he has only the one interception the past seven games.
The Lions were also prominently featured on NFL Network’s morning show “Good Morning Football.” Here’s a clip of Kyle Brandt giving the Lions props without going all DAN CAMPBELL KNEECAPS METALLICA GRIT.
Dan Campbell’s kickin’ ass. Lions are no joke. It’s fun to talk about. pic.twitter.com/dSnrblUSiF— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) December 12, 2022
Of note, Brandt called them a top-eight team in the NFL and the third-best team in the NFC. He wasn’t the only person to say this, either. Former Lions quarterback also said on ESPN Monday morning that he believes the Lions are a top-three team in the conference.
Here’s more from “Good Morning Football,” with this talk more surrounded on Goff:
In March of 2021, the @Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Jared Goff.— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) December 12, 2022
@PSchrags says it could end up being the rare NFL blockbuster trade that worked out for both teams.
"Goff has risen like a phoenix this season." pic.twitter.com/xFeK2CUvnH
Over at ProFootballTalk, the Lions got a lengthy segment in Peter King’s Football Morning in America after a chat with Aidan Hutchinson. Here’s a quote from Hutchinson, via King:
“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.”
Derrik Klassen over at the New York Times carved in a section of his Sunday night piece for the Lions, focusing on the rebirth of the long ball in Detroit:
Detroit has added a deep ball target that should make look good and continued playing well, winning its fifth game in its last six. Before Week 14, Goff’s average intended air yards was just 7.4, per Next Gen Stats. That number put Goff in the bottom half of the league, right around the same area as the Texans’ Davis Mills and the Jets’ Mike White.
With Williams and Chark, Goff may be able to push the ball more and make defenses respect the whole offense.
Over at the mothership, the phenomenal Mark Schofield wrote about how the Lions set up Jared Goff for success, including a bunch of excellent all-22 clips.
And now, a collection of tweets:
I’m not sure any NFL teams want the @Lions to make the playoffs. They are DANGEROUS and WAY BETTER than their record.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 11, 2022
Prayers up for the sports media hacks who might have to learn an extra thing about the Lions instead of just making an 18-month-old kneecap biting joke.— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) December 11, 2022
.@Lions make me wanna watch. It’s deserving of a “#onepride day” a day off from school. All phases to knock of the @vikings. And they are just getting started…oooozing with Talent #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/ghmiCZ35DB— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 12, 2022
Jared Goff on throws 10+ yards vs. Vikings:— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) December 12, 2022
3 TDs/0 INTs
Perfect 158.3 Passer Rating#RestoreIt
Wow @Lions win their 5th game in last 6 vs the @Vikings 34-23 . Minnesota came into the game 10-2 but coach DAN CAMPBELL has brought a winning mentality to the Motor City .I’m so happy for all the loyal Lions fans who have suffered so long .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) December 11, 2022
THE LIONS ARE GODS. DAN CAMPBELL’S NUTS COULDN’T FIT IN A DUMP TRUCK. DETROIT VS EVERYONE.— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) December 11, 2022
I feel like the Lions going from historically terrible to actually not bad on defense in a span of just six weeks is a bigger story than we’re giving it credit.— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) December 11, 2022