Lions still looking up at defending champ Packers

Michael Silver
Yahoo! Sports

The most exciting thing about the Lions' 24-13 victory over the Bears on Monday Night Football wasn't Jahvid Best's(notes) 88-yard touchdown burst or Matthew Stafford's(notes) 73-yard scoring pass to Calvin Johnson(notes). It wasn't that Barry Sanders took the field before the game as the home team's honorary captain or that Kid Rock roamed the locker room after the game as Motown's celebrity mascot.

The real excitement came from watching the 67,861 fans at Ford Field release years of pent-up energy as the Lions improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1956. Their raucous roar was a mixture of cautious chest-thumping, giddy disbelief, bubbling bravado – and a whole lot of genuine appreciation.

Yes, Detroit, you finally have a football team. Now sit back as my colleagues and I crank up the hype machine and enjoy the ride for all it's worth.

Not that we don't have plenty of help from the men in Honolulu blue. As Lions receiver Nate Burleson(notes) told the Detroit News after Monday's victory, "We're a resilient bunch. There are times this season we could have packed it in but we're a different group. We've matured and been through enough trials and tribulations. Now it's time for us to be at the top of the mountain."

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Ndamukong Suh enjoys Lions' spotlight ]


Technically, that may be true: Detroit is one of the league's two remaining undefeated teams, along with the defending champion Packers. Should the NFC North rivals continue to win in advance of their meeting at Ford Field on Thanksgiving, it will be one of the coolest holiday spectacles in recent memory, delighting everyone but the '72 Dolphins.

If the Lions have the league's best record after that game, we'll talk. Until then, they're not quite at the top of the mammoth mountain known as 32Q, which is even steeper and more treacherous to traverse than K2 for you non-adventure buffs.

For now, they're sitting comfortably in the five-hole, three spots above the rising team they host on Sunday, and four behind the leaders of the Pack. It's not that I don't think they're good – I simply think their play has been a bit uneven and sloppy at times, and I worry that a good, disciplined defense could make them one-dimensional.

[ Related: Urlacher frustrated with Bears' defense ]

This opinion, I suspect, will make me slightly less popular than Kid Rock and Barry Sanders in the Motor City. And though I've been singing the Lions' praises since coach Jim Schwartz's arrival and have picked them to win every game so far this season, I have a distinct feeling that I'm about to be shouted down by 67,861 people, or at least those of them that still have voices.

Well, bring it on – after all, I do enjoy that roar:

1. Green Bay Packers: After B.J. Raji(notes) reacted to the Falcons' disrespect by saying, "They have a long way to go," can the Falcons now complain that he doesn't respect them?

BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) rushed for 136 yards vs. the Jets.
(AP Photo)

2. New England Patriots: Does the fact that BenJarvus Green-Ellis has zero fumbles in 406 career rushing attempts pretty much make him Bill Belichick's favorite back of all time?

3. Baltimore Ravens: How many Sheets Energy Strips will Ray Rice(notes) have to ingest to join Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as a 1,000/1,000 back – and will he or LeBron James become the first investor in the company to win a ring?

4. New Orleans Saints: Wouldn't it have been far more interesting had Saints radio broadcaster Jim Henderson revealed his dislike for tight end Jeremy Shockey(notes) while Shockey was still with the team?

5. Detroit Lions: How cool is it that someone is secretly turning the helmets of vanquished opponents upside down on the wall outside the Lions' locker room – and is it possible the mystery perpetrator is Matt Millen?

6. Buffalo Bills: If Nick Barnett(notes) keeps making plays and the Bills win the AFC, will they let him be in the team photo at the Super Bowl?

7. Oakland Raiders: If someone slipped this plot twist into the third act of a Hollywood screenplay on Al Davis' life, how quickly would it get excised for being too corny?

8. San Francisco 49ers: Yo, Jim Harbaugh – if you're going to throw the ball in the final minutes of a game you're leading by 38 points, wouldn't it be better to do so to a backup receiver?

Matt Schaub(notes) came up short on the final play vs. the Raiders.
(Getty Images)

9. Houston Texans: If Matt Schaub had avoided being called a choker by Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly(notes) and run for the end zone on the final play of Sunday's game against the Raiders, would the Texans quarterback have been called "a dude in need of oxygen" by onrushing safety Tyvon Branch(notes)?

10. Dallas Cowboys: So are Dirk Nowitzki and I both "Romosexuals" (not that there's anything wrong with that)?

11. Washington Redskins: Three years after the fact, is Ryan Torain(notes) finally making me look like a sage?

12. Pittsburgh Steelers: Who is Jonathan Dwyer(notes), and did anyone whose last name isn't Dwyer see his 100-yard day against the Titans coming?

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Troy Polamalu on lessons of Super Bowl loss]


13. New York Jets: Even though he's injured, how hard is Braylon Edwards(notes) laughing right now?

14. Chicago Bears: If Matt Forte(notes) can't get a new contract from the Bears, can he at least score a Playaz Club invite from his rappin' namesake?

15. San Diego Chargers: When Shaun Phillips(notes) proclaims, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger," is he referring to Donovan McNabb(notes), Matt Cassel(notes), Chad Henne(notes), Matt Moore(notes), Kyle Orton(notes), Tim Tebow(notes) or all of the above?

16. New York Giants: Will Antonio Pierce(notes) get booed the next time he visits the Meadowlands, or is that just a Tiki thing?

Matt Hasselbeck(notes) was sacked three times by the Steelers.
(Getty Images)

17. Tennessee Titans: Did the Titans take their bye a week early, or were they just tricking some of us into thinking they were legit before they went to Pittsburgh?

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After Sunday's lifeless performance, did coach Raheem Morris rechristen his team "The San Francisco Stiffs"?

19. Cincinnati Bengals: If this team somehow sneaks into the playoffs, is there an award bigger than Coach of the Year that we can give Marvin Lewis?

20. Atlanta Falcons: Does Double M's performance deserve a "two thumbs down"?

21. Philadelphia Eagles: After hearing Andy Reid declare that he will not fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, why do I get the distinct feeling that Castillo will soon get fired?

22. Carolina Panthers: When Shockey declared that "no one takes losses worse than me" as an explanation for not shaking hands with his ex-Saints teammates Sunday, was he including this guy … or this one … or this one?

23. Cleveland Browns: When Browns president Mike Holmgren gave Evan Moore(notes) a contract extension following the tight end's impressive training camp, did rookie coach Pat Shurmur not get the memo?

Charlie Whitehurst(notes) helped the 'Hawks beat the Giants.
(AP Photo)

24. Seattle Seahawks: If Charlie Whitehurst spent a weekday morning bumming change on a Capitol Hill street corner, how many Seattle residents would recognize him ?

25. Kansas City Chiefs: How fantastic was Dwayne Bowe(notes) on Sunday – and how frustrating is it to Chiefs fans that he doesn't play like that on a consistent basis?

26. Minnesota Vikings: If Jared Allen(notes) gets within range of Michael Strahan's single-season sack record, will former teammate Brett Favre(notes) come out of retirement to help him out?

27. Arizona Cardinals: If Kevin Kolb(notes) can't persuade his teammates to behave like professionals, will he be replaced next year by a current amateur?

28. Denver Broncos: Has there ever been a dumber statistical creation than the one which indicates that Tim Tebow performed better than Aaron Rodgers(notes) last Sunday?

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: How many Jags fans are blasting Ray Charles on their iPods?

30. Indianapolis Colts: After going "balls to the wall" in support of Curtis Painter(notes), do you think Reggie Wayne(notes) is miffed that the young quarterback's favorite target is Pierre Garcon(notes)?

31. Miami Dolphins: Can Sage Rosenfels(notes) salvage the Dolphins' season – and is Tony Sparano a Bob Seger fan?

32. St. Louis Rams: When Josh McDaniels says he didn't foresee the Rams' offensive struggles in his first season as coordinator, how many Broncos fans feel like screaming, "WE DID!"?

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
Where does Al Davis rank among most significant owners?
Is LeBron considering an NFL career?
The most unique player in the NFL – punter Chris Kluwe
David Stern is manipulating the NBA lockout so the players take the fall
Florida teen dies after tragic baseball injury

What to Read Next