Why the Lions are a legitimate Super Bowl contender

Since 2000, the Detroit Lions have historically been one of the worst teams in the NFL. From 2001 to 2009, their 33-111 overall record, which included a winless season in 2008, was the worst record in the NFL by 17 games.

Then, from 2018 to 2021, the team finished 17-46-2, below just the Jets and the Jaguars for worst records in the NFL.

However, in 2022, after starting 1-6, the team won seven of their last nine, nearly making the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The success they found towards the end of the year in 2022 has followed them through the first four weeks here in 2023, and after Thursday’s thwarting of the Green Bay Packers, one thing is clear about the Detroit Lions. At 3-1, not only should they win the division for the first time since 1993, but they are now legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Here’s why.

1. Defense wins championships

The old adage goes that “Defense wins championships.” If that’s the case, the Lions have gotten off to a pretty good start.

For the first time since 1998, Detroit has posted five or more sacks in consecutive games. Their rush defense which was the fourth worst in 2022 has been much-improved and is now fourth best this year. They’ve allowed just 60.8 rushing yards per game, which is quite astonishing considering they’ve gone up against top-tier running backs such as Seattle’s Kenneth Walker III, and Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson.

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