At 1-1, there’s a long way to go for the Detroit Lions before the team can be called contenders for anything in 2022, but it’s clear the season is off to a solid start.
Detroit’s offense is flying high in spite of some early inconsistencies, and the defense has been strong and physical, getting after it up front. Some of these realities have folks who are believers in the team downright excited.
ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky is one of those folks. Orlovsky has watched the Lions through the first few weeks of the season, and seems more ready than ever to proclaim that the team can sustain momentum.
Speaking on First Take, Orlovsky wasted no time laying out the early reasons the Lions will be in the playoffs soon to Stephen A. Smith. As he said, the way the defense and offense complement each other is pretty inspiring to see.
“This defense leads the NFL in pressures, Aidan Hutchinson has been a huge addition. You got a defensive line that’s hunting quarterbacks,” Orlovsky explained. “Number two, I’m going to give you a number that’s outrageous after watching this run game. The average NFL yards per-carry out of everybody who’s run the football is 4.4. The Lions average 4.6 yards-per before getting touched. They’re averaging more yards before having a defender touch them than everybody else in the league. Yards per-carry, they’re averaging 7.2 yards per carry. That’s the third-highest number last 50 years and this run game is not going to change with D’Andre Swift and the big fellas.”
As Orlovsky said, the fact that the Lions have played well against their first two tough teams should only leave folks more optimistic.
This is not some ‘we played against trash defenses.’ They played against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 and and the Washington Commanders in Week 2, who are not a trash unit. The the fact that they are running the football that their defensive line is getting after quarterbacks (is encouraging),” he said.
Smith, of course, was more skeptical of the Lions’ hopes, saying it has been a long time since the team has done anything, so he isn’t going to be on the bandwagon just yet.
Regardless, Orlovsky’s opinion seems to be a prevailing one within the NFL community. Lots of folks are intrigued by the Lions and excited to see how high their star may climb in the coming months.
As some like Orlovsky seem to think, it should lead all the way to the postseason after this year.
Mike Golic Jr. Agrees With Lions to Playoffs
Suddenly, the Lions are picking up some major hype as a team that could make some noise this year. Orlovsky is hardly the only one who believes this. Fellow ESPN personality Mike Golic Jr. cheered him on.
As Golic tweeted, he’s ready to back Orlovsky up on his claim that the Lions will be making a postseason push this year.
“Hell yes Dan Orlovsky, Lions to the postseason LFG,” Golic tweeted.
Former football players seem to know a thing or two about what constitutes a good team, which is why it is interesting that Golic and Orlovsky are aligned here. Clearly, they appreciate what the Lions are doing.
How Lions Can Push to Playoffs
Detroit’s slate is very interesting, and if the Lions can keep some momentum, it could be easy to see how they could get things going and generate some positivity.
Detroit plays at home three out of the first four weeks of the season. They started with Philadelphia and Washington before taking on a Minnesota team they narrowly lost to on the road in 2021. Then, they come back home to take on a changed Seattle team that has seen major reconstruction this offseason. That’s a friendly way to start the year for Detroit.
Fans may roll their eyes, but there is a good shot for the Lions to start 3-1, or at the very least 2-2 with this home-friendly setup. That could prime them for a solid finish to the year after a tough middle slate plays out.
In terms of the finish, providing Detroit doesn’t flail through the middle, there is a chance the Lions could use a post-Thanksgiving push to get in playoff contention. From Week 13-17, the Lions will play teams that on paper, they should have a good chance at beating prior to finishing at Lambeau Field. Over that stretch, their toughest games could well be against either Minnesota at home or the New York Jets on the road.
The finish is looking as if it could be mighty favorable for the Lions and play a determining factor in how the 2022 season ends up.
After a decent start, some like Orlovsky are already proclaiming the Lions will end their six year postseason drought this season.