At the beginning of the season, the Detroit Lions had a historically bad defense. Throughout the first 7 games of the season, the Lions defense was giving up 31.7 points per game, which was dead last in the NFL. Furthermore, the Lions had a pitiful 1-6 record. However, in the past seven games, the Lions defense has only allowed 19.9 points per game. The Lions are 6-1 in those seven games.

The Lions defense improving has had a direct correlation on the Lions winning games. In the past seven games, the Lions defense has allowed less than 20 points four times, while allowing less than 10 points once. With as good of an offense that the Lions have, it’s almost an assured victory if they hold opponents under 20 points.

Lions Defense Vs. Green Bay

In the Lions’ week 9 matchup vs. the Green Bay Packers, the Lions defense held the Green Bay Packers to 9 points. They intercepted Aaron Rodgers 3 times. More importantly, all of those interceptions came while the Green Bay Packers were in the red zone.

By intercepting Aaron Rodgers three times, the Lions defense may have been directly responsible for taking as many as 21 points off of the board for the Packers. Despite the Lions offense only mustering a paltry 15 points, the defense was able to win the game for the Lions by holding the Packers to 9 points.

Lions Defense at New York Giants

In the Lions’ week 11 matchup at the New York Giants, the Lions defense held the New York Giants to 18 points. Furthermore, they forced 3 New York Giants turnovers, including 2 Daniel Jones interceptions. Equally important, the Lions defense held the Giants running game in check. They held the Giants to just only 89 yards rushing on 3.4 yards per carry. More importantly, the Lions held star running back Saquon Barkley to a putrid 22 yards on 1.5 yards per carry. By forcing three turnovers and shutting down the Giants’ potent running game, the Lions were able to win at New York comfortably, 31-18.

Lions Defense vs. Jacksonville

In the Lions’ week 13 matchup vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Lions defense held the Jaguars to 14 points. This game was mostly about how they contained Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who had one of his worst games of the season. Lawrence was only able to throw for 179 yards while only managing a completion percentage of 54.8%, a QBR of 43.1, and a passer rating of 82.6. That was one of his worst games of the season.

The Lions defense also forced a very timely and important turnover. On the Jaguars opening drive, Lions safety Deshon Elliot forced a Travis Etienne fumble, which was recovered by Alex Anzalone. The Lions offense was then able to convert that turnover into a touchdown. The Lions were then able to maintain a comfortable lead over the Jaguars and cruised to a 40-14 victory.

Detroit Lions Defense at New York Jets

In the Lions’s week 15 matchup at the New York Jets, the Lions defense held the Jets to 17 points. The Lions defensive line sacked Jets quarterback Zach Wilson 4 times. They were also able to force Zach Wilson into a bad throw, which was intercepted by Jerry Jacobs. Most importantly, the Lions defense held the New York Jets rushing attack to just 50 yards on 2.2 yards per carry. This was arguably the most complete game the Lions defense played all season. They shut down the run, sacked Zach Wilson 4 times, and forced another timely turnover. Furthermore, they held the Jets offense to 17 points. That was just enough for the Lions to hold on for a 20-17 victory.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The Detroit Lions’ defense has been a strength of this team in this incredible 6-1 stretch over the past 7 games. As you can see, every time the Lions’s defense has held an opponent to under 20 points, the Lions have won the game.

There is a ton of credit to go around. Firstly, I have to give credit to defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. He has helped spearhead the defensive turnaround from being a historically bad defense to a dominant one. Secondly, I have to credit the phenomenal rookie defensive players who have stepped up big this season. Rookie edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson leads all rookies in sacks with 7. Furthermore, fellow rookie James Houston is second in sacks with 5.

More Credit to Give Out

There are two other rookie defensive players who have stepped up huge for the Lions this season. Firstly, rookie safety Kerby Joseph has 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery this season. Secondly, rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is 6th among all rookies in tackles with 74. The Detroit Lions rookie defensive class is a major reason for the Lions defensive success this season.

There are some other players who I would like to single out as well. The cornerback duo of Jerry Jacobs and Jeff Okudah has been a strength of this team ever since Jacobs came back from injury. Safety DeShon Elliot has proven to be a great off season free agent acquisition by Brad Holmes with his stellar play. Edge rusher John Cominsky has also proven to be one of the Lions’ most consistent pass rushers. Most surprisingly, linebacker Alex Anzalone has stepped up huge this season and had a bounce back year. He leads the team in tackles with 105. As you can see, there is plenty of credit to go around when discussing the Lions defensive resurgence.


The Detroit Lions are where they are at now because of their defensive improvement. Going from a terrible defense to a dominant one is how the Lions turned a 1-6 start into a 7-7 record. Going forward, if the Lions defense continues to play at this high level, there is no telling how far this team can go.

Photo Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier





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By Published On: December 19th, 2022Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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