Are the Detroit Lions in the embryonic stage of a winner?

Lions coach Dan Campbell on the field before the game against the Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Ford Field.Syndication Detroit Free Press
Lions coach Dan Campbell on the field before the game against the Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Ford Field.Syndication Detroit Free Press /

The Detroit Lions are undermanned and generally lack talent, but could the convincing win over the Arizona Cardinals be the first step to becoming winners?

The Detroit Lions and their fans enjoyed the euphoria of their biggest win in recent memory when they dominated the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15. The win was complete in every facet of the game.

It’s worth noting the Cardinals never seemed ready to play. But that doesn’t take anything away from how prepared the Lions were, or how completely they whipped their opponent from Arizona.

What all of Detroit is wondering is if this is a precursor of what is to come for these Lions. If they are unable to match that performance against the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, or Green Bay Packers, does that make the big win over the Cardinals nothing more than a blip on the radar?

The Lions beat the Cardinals despite all the bodies they were missing. However, that task will be a little harder without Jared Goff (reserve/COVID-19 list) against the Falcons on Sunday (and hopefully not beyond). But in a broad sense, the beatdown of the Cardinals looked like it could be a tone-setter in Dan Campbell’s first season as head coach.

Are the Detroit Lions planting the roots of a contender?

Despite never having all five envisioned starting offensive lineman together for a game, and Craig Reynolds becoming the fifth running back to get notable carries this season, the Lions ground game this season has been the franchise’s most produtive since Barry Sanders was toting the rock. D’Andre Swift, despite a shoulder injury that has sidelined him recently, is one of the top dual-threat backs in the league.

The Lions’ passing game still has some work to do, but the foundation of the offense looks to be in the trenches. A good rushing attack travels, which bodes well for where this team is headed.

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has gotten the most out of a unit that has been hit with injuries basically from the jump this season, with illness and COVID issues mixed in lately. But over the last several weeks, the Detroit defense has mostly been pretty good.

What had been viewed as a lost season by many is now giving Lions fans a glimpse of the direction head coach Dan Campbell wants to lead. The win against the Cardinals is the blueprint for how Campbell want to play, and the fanbase would love to see more of it.

This season won’t yield much besides a high first pick in April. But with the addition of more talent come the offseason, this late-season push could very well become what hindsight will say were the first steps towards the Lions becoming an actual contender.

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