Detroit Lions: 5 Reasons Lions Can Keep Winning
Wow. At 3-0 for the first time since 1980 and two road victories already under their belt, the Lions are moving up on all the NFL Power Rankings. They have the longest active regular season winning streak with seven straight victories, which includes four, count them, four, straight road victories after not winning one in 23 tries.
Through all the adversity the Lions have already overcome, what will hold them back from continuing to win?
Here are five reasons the Lions will, in fact, continue to win.
I don't care if you are not a Detroit Lions fan; you have to love Jim Schwartz. He brought his winning attitude from Tennessee and transferred it right to the Lions organization.
His enthusiasm for the game is uncanny, and he has drastically turned around this franchise, along with Gunther Cunningham, Scott Linehan, Martin Mayhew and the rest of the front office.
After going down 20-0 at halftime against the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions looked like a distraught team bound to lose. Schwartz must have had an all inspiring speech during the break because the Lions came out on fire.
It is incredible the respect the players have for their coaches and the system, and they just believe that it works. Hey, if it's broke, don't fix it, and right now, for Jim Schwartz and the Lions, it isn't broke.
Stephen Tulloch and the Run Defense
It is clear that the Lions are a much faster and better tackling team this season.
The additions of Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant have already paid huge dividends, as the Lions defense held Adrian Peterson to only five yards in the second half in Week 3 and only 78 total yards on the ground. If you take away Peterson's 43-yard run, he only averaged just over two yards a carry for his other 16 carries. That is pretty nasty.
The top tacklers on the team are all free agent acquisitions, with Durant as the leading tackler with 21 tackles and Eric Wright close behind at 17, then Tulloch is third with 14. That just proves how dedicated the Lions were to getting better tackling players in the offseason, and it is definitely paying off.
Look for this trend to continue and for the Lions to have one of the best rushing defenses going forward.
Eric Wright and the Pass Defense
Prior to this season, the secondary was looked upon as the Lions defense's only weakness. Through three weeks, though, it is actually one of their strengths.
Currently, the Lions are fourth in the league, only allowing 188 yards per game through the air. To put this into perspective, their NFC North rival Green Bay Packers have given up almost 360 per game. It's not like the other teams haven't been throwing against them either, as there has been a combined 105 pass attempts (35 per game).
The Lions are also third in the league with their opposing QB rating at a balmy 69.1, and they already have four interceptions after only garnering 14 all of last year.
So much for the pass defense being a weakness. Look for this success to continue and help lead the Lions to more victories.
Matthew Stafford Is Healthy
When Matthew Stafford was picked No. 1 overall in the 2009 draft, he was expected to take the 0-16 Detroit Lions and bring them to prominence. In his third season, so far, it is actually happening. We all know the issues with his health, but when healthy, he is clearly a top five quarterback in the NFL.
Through the first three weeks, he has taken five sacks and 13 hits and has gotten up injury free after all of them. This offseason, Stafford worked the hardest he has ever been to shake the injury bug, and so far, so good.
The Lions are currently fourth in the league with just over 321 yards per game passing with nine touchdowns to only two interceptions. Matthew Stafford is third in the league with a 110.7 passer rating, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
The Lions are clearly a pass first team (almost 40 passes per game to 28 rushes per game), and without a running game, they set up lots of screens and dump offs to keep opposing defenses honest. Look for this formula to keep working and lead to more Lions victories.
Calvin Johnson Is a Beast
Detroit is currently the sixth best team when entering the Red Zone, with almost a 62 percent touchdown rate, and Calvin Johnson is the main reason why. Johnson is the first player in NFL history to total two touchdowns in each of his first three games and currently leads the NFL with those six touchdown grabs.
On pace for 32 touchdowns, Calvin Johnson is on his way to an MVP season, and as unstoppable as he is, it is not that far fetched that he gets to 32 with Stafford slinging the ball.
The Lions look forward to play another road game against the banged up Dallas Cowboys before they come home to play the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Looking down the rest of the schedule, there really isn't a team that the Lions don't match-up well with and could possibly beat.
I'm not saying they will go 16-0, but as 10-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl , the Lions look like a sure lock to make the playoffs.