Let’s start with the confidence poll, as we saw it climb to early season heights.
Just over three weeks ago the Lions were 1-6 and fans’ confidence that the team was headed in the right direction was at a lowly 56%. Then they beat the Packers and perceptions changed, leading to a sharp increase to 82%. Then they took down the Bears on the road and saw another spike, this time jumping up to 91%. Then last Sunday, the Lions traveled to New York and locked down the (previously 7-2) Giants, and the survey results increased again.
After the Lions’ three-game winning streak, 96% of Lions fans have confidence the team is headed in the right direction.
Among the 32 SB Nation fan bases polled, the Lions’ 96% is the third highest in the league, trailing only the Chiefs and Dolphins’ 99% confidence rating. In the division, the Bears have dropped to 79%, the Vikings plummeted to 58%, and the Packers are at a mere 8% (not a misprint), in case you were wondering.
To be honest, it’s easy to be a Lions fan right now. Yeah, they’re only 4-6 on the season, but that record has landed them second in the division, and they are “in the hunt” for the playoffs, as they are just two games out of the Wild Card. Their confidence and winning streak—currently the longest in the NFL—has people believing the Lions are developing past the “lovable losers” label and making real progress toward future success.
And the future does indeed look bright as the awards and recognitions for the Lions youth continue to roll in.
Alim McNeill had a monster 10-pressure performance against the Giants, and PFF raved about that being a new record for a player his size (320+ pounds). They went on to name him their Defensive Player of the Week. Not to be outdone, the NFL’s NFC Defensive Player of the Week award went to rookie Aidan Hutchinson. This is actually the second time in three weeks a Lions rookie won that award, as Kerby Joseph earned that recognition after his two-interception performance against the Packers. Prior to Kerby’s winning of the award, no Lions rookie had ever won it. Now they had two rookies win the award in three weeks.
But it’s not just players drafted by general manager Brad Holmes that are getting recognition, one of his free agent signings is getting some love too. Running back Jamaal Williams is this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week after a three-rushing touchdown performance that put him back in the lead for rushing touchdowns scored this season.
Speaking of award-based systems, voting for the Pro Bowl opened this week and the Lions have been putting in work to get their players voted into the big event. In this week’s survey, we asked the question: How many Lions should make the Pro Bowl?
Those results are also in and most fans (47%) agreed that the Lions would probably land two players, with three or more players receiving 38% of the vote. As laid out in the survey, the Lions probably have seven or so players who would be considered among the tops in their position group, but most of those players play in non-flashy roles that often get overlooked.
I don’t want to name the players I think should make it—we will save that for a future article—but I think it’s a safe bet those players will play on the offensive line.