The Detroit Lions made a lot of their own luck late this season, but some NFL data also shows they benefited from some good fortune not entirely in their control.
It’s often said you make your own luck by working hard. The Detroit Lions had one notable, league attention-getting thing go against them this season, but otherwise there wasn’t anything that memorably went against them this season.
In winning eight of their last 10 games and nearly making the playoffs (but for that aforementioned awfully officiated game, ultimately), the Lions simply didn’t let any bad fortune, bad calls, etc. get in their way. They made plays when they were there to be had, often impactful to winning a game–and multiple different players stepped up in big moments.
But ultimately, it’s foolish to think the Lions didn’t benefit from a little good luck on their way to a winning record this season.
NFL data says Detroit Lions were one of the league’s luckiest teams this season
Tom Bliss is the manager of the NFL’s Football Ops data. He has released the final 2022 edition of a chart called the “Luck Table”, compiling wins added by luck based on four metrics.
In total, the Lions were the sixth-luckiest team in the NFL this season with 0.75 wins gained. They were fourth in dropped interception luck. With fumbles deemed a 50-50 proposition, they actually lost wins (-0.02) there.
Overall, it’s not surprising to see the New York Giants, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings very high on the luck chart for the 2022 season. On the other end the Buffalo Bills come in last at -1.27 wins, driven by losing over one full win based on fumble recoveries. By comparison to the Bills, the Vikings gained more than a win on fumble recovery good fortune.
So the Lions did have the ball bounce, fall to the ground or go outside the uprights favorably a good bit this season. What they accomplished should not be diminished by that though. It’s just interesting to see data like this, and this time it’s directly from the NFL.