The Detroit Lions are the real deal.
That's what we've learned in the first four games of the season.
They are legitimate playoff contenders based on their performance in the first four games. They have a 3-1 won-loss record with quality road wins over the Chiefs and Packers.
The Lions are good. They're fun to watch with their all-out playing style. And they're improving from week to week, as demonstrated in their 34-20 win over the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 4.
Among the other things we've learned: Defensive lineman Alim McNeill's value to the defensive line, and the revenge the Lions are looking for from a loss to Carolina last year.
We start with the Lions being for real:
Dan Campbell has stressed from Day 1 when he took over as head coach in 2021 to not get too high or too low.
He stressed that to the team again as they began preparations for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
"I mentioned it to the guys this morning," he said at his Monday press conference. "Don't ride the roller coaster. Don't get on that ride -- the ups and downs. 'That was a big win, that's an awful loss.' Just stay in the race. They'll be teams that'll rise. They'll be teams that'll fall. As long as we handle our business each week"
He made reference to the Green Bay game as an example of how the Lions took care of business and did not get caught up in any distractions.
"We went out to Green Bay, we looked like a hungry team," he said. "We looked focused on the details. We played together. We played violent, and we made the plays that were there."
Middle man: Good performances can get lost in the chaos playing in the interior, but McNeill is not getting lost for what he is bringing to the Lions' defensive line.
The Lions have had 12 sacks in the last two games. McNeill has one in each of those games.
"Everybody knew he could be a star in this league," linebacker Derrick Barnes said. "That's a guy you want to play in front of you."
Revenge II: The Lions are looking for a better result than the one they got in their first revenge game this season.
That was in Week 2, when they wanted revenge over Seattle from a 48-45 loss in 2022. Seattle won the 2023 revenge game, 37-31, in overtime at Ford Field.
The Lions suffered a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 16 last season. The Panthers shredded the Lions for 320 yards rushing.
I expect a different result from the Seattle game.