Yes, I said it. The Detroit Lions are finally a respectable team. And their win on Sunday night in Green Bay has shown the world that they have finally turned a corner. This is the first time since Barry Sanders that a Lions fan can say that.
And you’ll say, “Matthew Stafford made the playoffs with the Lions three times!” Those were all just a flash in the pan. No one ever believed in what they were building. Those teams were always so lopsided — it was Stafford and Calvin Johnson and nobody else. Or it was a good offense with a horrid defense. There was no balance.
These new Lions have balance. Their defense in 2022 improved throughout the season. The defensive rankings may not reflect that, but the eye test says otherwise. They still have a ways to go, but it’s on the right track.
You’re also seeing young players who are developing on a week-to-week basis. Aidan Hutchinson, Jerry Jacobs, Malcolm Rodriguez, and James Houston are some of the young talent that they have on defense. They still need help in the secondary, but it is definitely getting to a point where they can hang with good teams.
Detroit’s offense was one of the best surprises of this season. Jared Goff looked far more comfortable in year two with the Lions than he did in year one. He finished the year with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions for a told of 4,438 yards and a QB rating of 99.32.
Jamaal Williams led the team in rushing with 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns — which broke Barry Sanders’ single-season record with the Lions. Between Williams and De’Andre Swift, the Lions had a running threat that helped open up the passing all season long.
And let’s not forget the biggest factor in the Lions turning the corner — Dan Campbell. Campbell joined the Lions in the 2021 season and had one of the most memorable opening press conferences of all time in which he talked about biting off kneecaps.