Brian Gornick, Sports Editor
Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs (26) celebrates with fans in the third quarter at Ford Field. Photo//Gregory Shamus
As the Detroit Lions return to Allen Park this week to prepare for their next game against the Los Angeles Chargers, they find themselves in uncharted territory. The Lions hosted the Las Vegas Raiders this past Monday on prime time television, beating them 26-14 to advance to a 6-2 record.
For the first time since 2014, the Lions are 6-2 eight games into the season, and currently sit with a one game lead on the NFC North to lead their division. The Lions are also second in the NFC, behind only the Philadelphia Eagles with an 8-1 record.
The Lions have started the season 6-2 thirteen times, including this season. Looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016, they will have to fight historical precedence on their journey. Five times where the team has started the season 6-2, they failed to make the postseason. The most recent instance was in 2007, when the Lions reached a 6-2 record after a 44-7 win against the Denver Broncos at Ford Field. The team would only win one game the rest of the season to advance to a 7-9 record and miss the postseason.
The Lions certainly have their schedule benefiting them the rest of the season. As of this week, the Lions only play four games against teams with winning records, and two of those are against the Minnesota Vikings who are without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins with a torn Achilles tendon. With an easy strength of schedule, it’s hard to not see the Lions winning the division.
Outside publicists also believe the Lions will make the playoffs. The New York Times puts the Lions at having a 99% chance of making the playoffs, and a 91% chance at winning the NFC North.
It would be a long time coming, as it’s been over three decades since the Lions last won their division, back when it wasn’t even known as the NFC North. If the team can keep their current pace and keep winning games, the Lions will host a playoff game for the first time since 1991.