The Detroit Lions head to their Week 9 bye feeling pretty good about themselves after a 26-14 win Monday night over the Las Vegas Raiders pushed their record to 6-2 on the season. Detroit now gets to rest up, get healthy and look to make serious noise in the NFC playoff picture the second half of the season.
So, what went right for the Lions over the first two months of the season? Here are five numbers that stand out to me:
1. Number: 6-2
What it means: Detroit's win-loss record
NFL rank: Tied for the second best mark in the NFL with Miami, Kansas City, Baltimore and Jacksonville behind only Philadelphia (7-1).
Twentyman: It's the first time the Lions have started a season 6-2 since 2014. Detroit holds a two-game lead in the NFC North and is looking to win a division title for the first time since 1993. That's significant because of the way Detroit has played at home this season. They've won three straight home games by 12 points or more and have scored 20-or-more points in eight straight homes games dating back to last season.
There is only one team over the Lions' nine remaining games that currently has a winning record (Dallas Week 17).
2. Number: 35
What it means: Completions of 20-plus yards this season
NFL rank: 2nd
Twentyman: Lions quarterback Jared Goff is playing Pro Bowl caliber football through the first half of the season. One thing that's really stood out is this offense's ability to generate big plays in the passing game. Goff's 35 completions of 20-plus yards is second in the NFL behind only Matthew Stafford's 36.
Goff ranks fourth in the NFL with 2,174 passing yards and is completing 68.3 percent of his passes. His 12 touchdown passes are top 10 in the league and his 96.4 passer rating is also top 10. Detroit is averaging 390.6 yards of offense per game, which is No. 2 in the NFL.
3. Number: 32.6
What it means: Opponent third down conversion percentage
NFL rank: 3rd
Twentyman: Highlighted by holding Las Vegas to just 1-for-9 on third down in the win Monday, Detroit's defense has been good all year on the money down. The Lions rank in top 10 in holding opponents to a conversion on 3rd and short (less than four yards) which plays a big factor in the overall number. Opponents are only converting those about 50 percent of the time.
4. Number: 9
What it means: Opponent points scored outside the red zone
NFL rank: 1st
Twentyman: Detroit's defense is doing a great job keeping scoring down outside the red zone and making opponents drive the field to score points. The Lions are the only team in the NFL that hasn't allowed a touchdown beyond the red zone this season and teams have only scored nine total points from outside the 20. The league average is 44 points scored outside the 20-yard line.
On the flip side, the Lions' offense has done a great job scoring from outside the red zone. Their 78 points scored from beyond the 20 are the third most in the league. Detroit's offense has produced a 20-plus-yard touchdown in eight straight games to open the season. The last time they did so was in 1963.
View photos from the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions Week 8 game at Ford Field on Monday, Oct. 30 in Detroit, MI.
5. Number: 22.9
What it means: Opponent average starting field position
NFL rank: 1st
Twentyman: We'd be remiss if we didn't give special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and his units some love here. Detroit's special teams, and especially their cover units, have been terrific all season. The Lions dedicate a lot of practice time to special teams and devote roster spots to players like Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Anthony Pittman, Chase Lucas and others who excel on teams. Opponents have started drives inside their own 20-yard line 23 times through eight games, tied for the second most in the NFL.