Nobody expected this. As of right now, the Detroit Lions hold sole possession of first place in the NFC North. To put that into perspective for Lions fans, the last time they held a two game lead over the entire division since the 1993 Season. That was so long ago that of their current 52-Man-Roster, only three players (Dan Orlovsky – 33, Don Muhlbach – 35, and Anquan Boldin – 38) were older than the age of 10 at that time.
Entering the season, there weren’t many expectations for the Lions. Numerous news outlets such as Bleacher Report pegged the team as a bottom feeder, not expecting them to exceed the four-win mark. However, the Lions didn’t let that adversity get to them. They went into their games with the odds against them, and yet they currently hold sole possession of first place. No questions, no debate about it, the Detroit Lions are the top team in the NFC North.
Although, despite their successes, many critics are still wary of the team. In fact, despite holding first place, every single one of ESPN’s “Expert Analysts” predicted a loss for the team in their Week 13 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The Lions would go on to win that game by their largest margin of the season and silencing the critics.
This team has played from underneath the entire season, never letting the scoreboard affect them. In every win (besides the aforementioned win over New Orleans), the Lions were trailing at some point in the 4th quarter. According to the Detroit News and a very convoluted mix of win probability, score, and time remaining, the odds of the Lions winning seven games via comeback had an outrageous 1 in 8.65 billion chance of happening. Mathematically, you could win the Powerball drawing 29 times before this ever happens again. That just goes to show how special this season has been as a whole.
Being the “Comeback Kitties” may not tell the full story. Even while losing one of the best Wide Receivers in NFL history in Calvin Johnson, Quarterback Matthew Stafford is having one of his best and most consistent seasons ever. His turnover rate is extremely low, he’s become much more agile and able to move from the pocket, and he has been hitting his targets left and right. He has been doing so well that he has garnered legitimate consideration for the MVP Trophy. With such consistent play, as well as an increased confidence, Stafford has finally stepped up as a leader for this team to get behind.
Despite all of this, though, despite all of their seasonal successes, there is still one ever long curse that the Detroit Lions can never shake; their reputation as being the Detroit Lions. The phrase “Same ol’ Lions” is always tossed around whenever the team experiences lulls. They’ve always found ways to lose games, whether it be shaky officiating by the referees or all around mediocre play, fans can never rest easy with this team, and until the season ends, only then will the success (or failure) of the Lions be set in stone. Until then, we will have to watch the Lions continue to scratch and claw their way to a successful season.