On Tuesday, our fearless leader Jeremy Reisman asked Pride of Detroit’s readers if they thought the team had a shot at winning the division this season. While the promising results of the first two weeks have him optimistic, Jeremy was not yet willing to go that far. Mike Payton called the team “overcomers,” and also likes what he sees but again wants to see more before he becomes a true believer.
What about a wild card bid, though?
Dan Orlovsky declared in a clip posted by ESPN’s First Take on Thursday that he is already convinced the Detroit Lions will at least make the playoffs this year. The catalysts for this leap of faith by Orlovsky? Defensive pressures and the run game on offense:
To emphasize how incredible the Lions ground game has been, the former pro quarterback pointed out the gulf between what the Lions are getting before contact versus the rest of the league:
“So, the average NFL yards per carry—out of everybody who’s run the football—is 4.4. The Lions average 4.6 yards before getting touched. They’re averaging more yards before having a defender touch them than everybody else in the league’s yards per carry. They’re averaging 7.2 yards per carry. That’s the third highest number in the last fifty years. And this run game’s not going to change with D’Andre Swift and the big fellas. This is not some “we played against trash defenses.” (They) played against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 and the Washington Commanders in Week 2, who are not a trash unit.”
Now, Orlovsky is not the only believer in the national media coming around to the notion of Detroit competing to make it to the postseason. Earlier in the week, Fox Sports’ Jonathan Vilma chided Colin Cowherd for not talking up Detroit with enough conviction:
Cowherd said he thought the Lions have a chance to be a wild card team, but Vilma wanted it said more forcefully. “My only issue, Colin, is that you gotta say it with more conviction, man. These guys are good. We don’t have to write them off anytime anymore. Dan Campbell has them believing. It’s a culture of toughness, physicality, and you see the way they run the football.” A key point that the former three-time Pro Bowl linebacker made is the state of the offensive line:
“The thing that people don’t understand, those three interior offensive linemen. Center, guard, guard. Those are backups! Those aren’t even their starters! Once their starters come back—if they do come back—you’re talking about one of the best offensive lines in the NFL in front of a D’Andre Swift, who I think is one of the most phenomenal young premier running backs in the game.”
While neither analyst is saying they think the Lions are coming for the division crown yet, it sure sounds like they are high on the team. According to Orlovsky, his “favorite part of this, Christine (Williamson) honestly, is when the Lions make the playoffs, Stephen A (Smith) is going to have to talk about Jared Goff.” We all hope that comes to pass, but for now here are the rest of your weekend Notes:
- At Pride of Detroit, the kicking game is serious business:
Quintez Cephus took over gunner snaps in Week 2, expanding his special teams snaps to three phases: punt/kick return and punt coverage.
PFF credited him with two tackles and gave him a special teams grade of 78.1
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) September 23, 2022