Annually, the media eyes an “it team” during the preseason as a potential sleeper that could either reach the playoffs or make a lengthy postseason run.
The preseason love tap was given to the Lions, who had done little on the field to warrant considerable support for a 2011 playoff appearance.
Detroit’s speedy running back Jahvid Best rushed for a career-high 163 yards on just 12 carries and posted an 88-yard touchdown run, which was the second longest in Lions history.
Calvin Johnson added a 73-yard touchdown catch to mix, which marked the first time in NFL history any player totaled nine touchdown receptions in the season’s first five games.
The Lions have their warts (12 penalties for 94 yards on Monday and a lack of depth at running back) but it’s enjoyable to see Detroit become an important part of a season’s fabric.
Their bruising defensive line led by Ndamukong Suh, fun home crowds (a Ford Field record 67, 861 for Monday’s game), and the rise of Matthew Stafford make the Lions a compelling squad that could give Green Bay some pause.
Coming up in Week 6, Detroit hosts San Francisco in a game featuring teams with a combined record of 9-1. That number makes Sunday’s game, the most important Niners/Lions tilt since 1993.
At 5-0, Detroit holds a share of first place in the NFC North with Green Bay.