This week’s SB Nation Reacts surveys focused on two questions:
- Are you still confident the Detroit Lions are headed in the right direction? (asked weekly)
- In terms of organizational direction, how important is a Lions win over the Packers?
Let’s start with the recurring poll. Fresh off of an exciting offseason culminating in being featured on “Hard Knocks,” Lions fans were all-in on this team. After a solid showing against the Eagles in Week 1 and victory over the Commanders in Week 2, 98% of fans believed Detroit was headed in the right direction.
That energy took a hit after a 1-6 start to the year, bottoming out at 47% after being shut out by the Patriots. But winning cures all, and things trended up from there.
As the Lions stacked win after win, fans began to believe in them. In spite of losses to the Bills and Panthers, fans’ confidence the team was improving with long-term stability stayed high.
As the Lions enter the final week of the regular season, and fresh off a 41-10 thrashing of division rival Bears, fans’ confidence the team is headed in the right direction is back up to 98%.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe it’s foreshadowing, but I don’t think it’s a mistake that the above chart looks like a “W.” That is what the Lions will need in this weekend’s game against the Packers, regardless of whether a Wild Card berth is on the line or not.
“For us, it’s got to be a win, win either way,” coach Dan Campbell said this week. “Either we’re playing to get in (to the playoffs) or we’re playing to be spoiler and that’s it. So, either way, we win.”
Campbell has consistently discussed the importance of this game both in the locker room and in the media. He’s pointed out that this game carries significance beyond the postseason; this is potentially a culture-defining game.
“We tell (players) the magnitude,” Campbell said. “This is big. That’s what we do. This is big, and it’s going to be fun, and let’s go.”
Fans—based on social media discussions and the survey article’s comment section—are split on how much Week 18 at Lambeau means for the future direction of the franchise. About half see this as an opportunity to “slay the dragon” and establish themselves as NFC North favorites next season and possibly years to come. Others believe the Lions have already done enough this season to prove they are a competitive team moving forward—a stance the weekly confidence survey results support.
To be honest, both ideologies could be right in this situation.
The Lions have certainly established themselves as a young team with a bright future regardless of the results of this weekend’s game. At the same time, to borrow a quote from Third Eye Blind (H/T to Kuehn Observations on Twitter), it’s time to “back down the bully to the back of the bus, cause it’s time for them to be scared of us.”
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