The national praise for the Lions continues to roll in, both for the team overall and for quarterback Jared Goff. This week, FTN Network’s Aaron Schatz was a guest on the Pump Fake Podcast hosted by USA Today’s Jarrett Bailey. During Friday’s Week 7 preview episode, the two spent about four and a half minutes (from around 13:50 to 18:20) talking about the Ravens and Lions, and a number of interesting bits came out.
Bailey started the Lions-Ravens section saying “the Lions have been fantastic this year,” but specifically called attention to Jared Goff’s play right off the bat.
Bailey: “Jared Goff. Aaron Schatz, let’s talk about Jared Goff. Because if you look at his last 17 games: 29 touchdowns, four picks. He’s playing amazing. And for all the people that are saying oh “Brock Purdy MVP candidate,” “Tua Tagovailoa MVP candidate” — if you’re saying those two are MVP candidates...”
Schatz (nodding): “You have to say Goff too. Goff’s in the same boat, yeah. He (has) very similar issues.”
Bailey: “So I’m loving what I see from Detroit. I think right now they’re the second best team in the NFC.”
(Skipping a few sentences about Baltimore)
Schatz: “I mean, we have the Lions as the number two team in the league this year. We have them behind only San Francisco. So, they’ve been fantastic and they’ve been very well balanced, right? They can run. They can pass. Although their running backs are all injured for this game. They can stop the run. They can stop the pass.”
(Skipping a bit more about Baltimore)
Schatz: “This is another one where, I mean the line is Ravens by 3 and I just think the Lions are the better team.”
Both the host and guest had great things to say about all parts of the team, but they also thought the Lions have a lot of room to look even better than they already do. After acknowledging how much better the defense is this year, Bailey made the point that the defense has been this much better even without a lot of the players they brought in due to injuries (Branch, Moseley, Gardner-Johnson).
Bailey: “Oh my goodness, it would be...”
Schatz: “It would be a great story.”
Bailey: “That’s something that would make 100 percent of people outside of NFC North fans happy. Even then, though.”
Schatz: “Outside of whatever team they would beat.”
Bailey (laughing): “Yeah.”
Then Bailey mentioned he’d talked to Ben Raven from MLive about the sense the beat writers have about how good the team is. The host said he agreed with broad sentiment that the current Detroit Lions are a very good team that could go far in the postseason if they keep it up:
Bailey: “It feels very real that they could make a run at the NFC Championship Game and it wouldn’t be flukey. I think i’m in the same boat where they could absolutely be one of the final four teams in the league.”
Schatz: “Yeah, hey. You know, Jared Goff has led a team to a Super Bowl. Like, it’s happened. I know people... we write him off, but he has led a team to a Super Bowl so it’s doable. And they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and good coaching, and a great offensive coordinator, and it is absolutely doable for them to make the NFC Championship game. Sure. Yeah. I would favor them against the Eagles right now.”
Bailey: “I would too. I think that right now they’re better than the Eagles and I don’t think it’s much of a conversation. In terms of the way that they’ve played, the efficiency that they’ve been. Not a huge dropoff: the Eagles are eighth in terms of efficiency, the Lions are fifth. It’s not like a giant gap, but it’s big enough where I can say okay the Lions they’ve looked dominant, they’ve beaten teams by multiple scores multiple times this season. I just think right now they look more in sync and more like a well oiled machine than Philadelphia does.”
Schatz: “Yeah. Yes.”
Until Aaron Schatz says to slow our roll, we’ll leave you with those happy thoughts and aspirations for the Lions’ season. Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- It’s not just Aaron Schatz and Jarrett Bailey saying it. Bucky Brooks wrote on NFL.com that he believes “Yes, the Lions ARE Super Bowl contenders.”
- Rich Eisen this week had lengthy segments on the Lions posted to YouTube. On Tuesday, the Rich Eisen Show posted a 7-minute segment titled “Why the rest of the NFL should feat the Detroit Lions.” That same day, Eisen had Dan Patrick on the show to talk about whether or not Jared Goff should be in the MVP discussion (Both Patrick and Eisen think yes, with the same justification that Jarrett Bailey gave). On Friday, the show put up a nearly 10-minute segment discussing the “Real Possibility” of a Jaguars-Lions Super Bowl.
- Here’s NFL Network’s Greg Cosell with tape on how well Jared Goff is playing:
- You’ve probably already seen the shorter tweet from Dan Orlovsky talking about Jared Goff “just playing the play” as well as anybody else in the league, but there’s a longer clip (almost six minutes) from ESPN on YouTube with even more film breakdown from Orlovsky driving home the point.
- Former Packers wide receiver James Jones on Fox Sports 1’s Speak show in a segment on Friday titled “Who do you trust more? Jared Goff or Lamar Jackson”: “You ask me who I want on Sunday? It’s crazy to say, but I want Jared Goff and these Detroit Lions on Sunday. I think he’s playing a whole lot better—and I say a WHOLE lot better—than Lamar ‘Action’ Jackson right now as we speak, this season.” The studio crew of Jones, Emmanuel Acho, LeSean McCoy, and Joy Taylor also heaped loads of praise on the Lions in a different segment talking about how the Ravens game is a litmus test for seeing how good the Lions really are.
- There is a new Week 7 preview episode from Joe Kania and Erik Schlitt’s Detroit Lions Breakdown podcast. You can listen to the entire 90-minute audio in a web player on their site or on most major podcast services.
- Who’s next?
The Lions have been absolutely stealing the souls of opposing fanbases this year. pic.twitter.com/3U98eeVDgH— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) October 20, 2023
- MLive’s Ben Raven and Kyle Meinke posted a new mailbag episode of their Dungeon of Doom podcast in which they examine “how Jared Goff turned into a legit MVP candidate.” You can listen to the entire 40-minute episode’s audio in a web player on Spotify.
- Trust us when we say to watch Dave Fipp’s media session from Thursday:
Fipp's entire 14 minutes presser is up on the Lions' YouTube page.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) October 20, 2023
Highly recommend it: https://t.co/ugWIIXLYM0
- Fox 2’s Dan Miller sat down for a quick three-minute interview with wide receiver Jameson Williams. Miller also had a four-minute interview with special teams coordinator Dave Fipp. You can watch both videos in a web player on Fox 2’s website.
- In case you haven’t re-lived the Justin Tucker 66-yard field goal enough this week (thanks, Kellie), we have an actually really well done oral history style piece from Jamison Hensley at the worldwide leader. There are quotes from Ravens players, from Lions linebackers, and even Matt Prater! Take a look at “the story behind Justin Tucker’s record-breaking field goal” if you can bear it.
- Happy birthday to the best Detroit Lions wide receiver of the early to mid 1990s, back when I first started following the Lions in earnest:
- This week’s Twentyman in the Huddle podcast had former Lions guard T.J. Lang and current defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs on the show. You can watch the entire 48-minute video on the team’s official YouTube channel.
- ESPN’s Eric Woodyard wrote an article about “six stats that show why the Lions are no fluke.”
- Alex Anzalone almost made the cut for the Next Gen Stats analytics team’s top 10 off-ball linebackers list entering Week 7 (hat tip to The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy for spotting this).