Several Detroit Lions have clawed their way into contention for several of the NFL’s most prestigious awards as we approach the midpoint of the season. This emergence is a credit to the coaching staff and the vision of the Lions’ front office. They’ve pieced together a team that not only challenges opponents week in and week out but also boasts candidates for individual accolades—a rarity for the franchise in recent years.
As we approach the season’s midway point, let’s evaluate the Lions’ contenders in the race for league-wide awards.
Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Jared Goff’s unexpected surge this season has placed him among the dark horse contenders for MVP. Though not a frontrunner, his performance merits recognition. The Detroit quarterback has threaded his way into the MVP narrative with efficiency that has many NFL analysts positioning him within their top 10. Despite stiff competition from the likes of Lamar Jackson, who remains a dual-threat enigma, Goff’s consistency and leadership cannot be overstated. Jackson’s dominance in both the air and on the ground is unmatched, leading quarterbacks in rushing yards and maintaining a stellar QBR in pressured situations. Goff’s chances may be slim, but his honorable mention status speaks volumes about his and the Lions’ resurgence.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
- Honorable Mention: Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Miami Dolphins) Jared Goff (QB, Detroit Lions), Trevor Lawrence (QB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY)
Christian McCaffrey continues to outperform his peers, despite battling a groin injury. His league-leading yards from scrimmage and touchdown ties make him a clear frontrunner. However, Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions is gaining traction and may deserve more than just an honorable mention. St. Brown has become a beacon of reliability and production, proving to be a draft steal for Detroit. His chemistry with Goff is undeniable, and his statistical output is expected to rival the league’s top receivers by the season’s end. The Lions’ top wide receiver has already amassed impressive numbers and is a cornerstone of one of the NFC’s most potent offenses.
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers
- Tyreek Hills, WR, Miami Dolphins
- A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
- Honorable Mention: Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens), Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR, Detroit Lions), Raheem Mostert (RB, Miami Dolphins), Travis Etienne (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
NFL Leaders In Receiving Yards Through 8 Weeks.— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) November 3, 2023
1. Tyreek Hill – 1,014 Yards
2. A.J. Brown – 939 Yards
3. Puka Nacua – 795 Yards
4. Stefon Diggs – 748 Yards
5. D.J. Moore – 691 Yards
6. Amon-Ra St. Brown – 665 Yards
7. Ja'Marr Chase – 656 Yards
8. Keenan Allen – 643 Yards
Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY)
While Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson doesn’t quite crack the list for DPOY honors, he’s on the cusp. The beastly performances of Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, and Maxx Crosby overshadow Hutchinson’s solid play. However, as Detroit’s schedule eases, expect Hutchinson to ramp up his efforts and potentially disrupt the current rankings. Garrett, in particular, has been a force of nature on the defensive line, with a staggering pass rush win rate and sack creation that sets him apart as the defensive player to beat.
- Myles Garrett, DL, Cleveland Browns
- Micah Parsons, DL, Dallas Cowboys
- Maxx Crosby, DL, Las Vegas Raiders
- Honorable Mention: T.J. Watt (DL, Pittsburgh Steelers), Chris Jones (DL, Kansas City Chiefs), Fred Warner (LB, San Francisco 49ers), Danielle Hunter (DL, Minnesota Vikings)
Aidan Hutchinson and Maxx Crosby with the jersey swap after tonight’s game pic.twitter.com/un4e1s6aQR— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) October 31, 2023
Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY)
C.J. Stroud has the OROY award firmly in his grasp, especially after a record-breaking performance against the Buccaneers. His poise and production have transcended rookie norms, nearly making the Texans a cant-miss football team. The Lions’ rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta are making significant ripples in the OROY discussions.
Gibbs, is blending into the running and passing game with increasing effectiveness. His recent performances have showcased his explosive potential, hinting at a breakout trajectory. LaPorta, on the other end, is fast establishing himself as a trusted target for quarterback Jared Goff. His impact on third downs and in crucial moments reflects a veteran’s poise rather than a rookie’s, and his statistics are a testament to his growing role in Detroit’s offense. Both players have embedded themselves as key cogs in the Lions’ scheme and are set to finish the season with impressive rookie résumés.
- C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans
- Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams
- Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Detroit Lions
- Honorable Mention: Bijan Robinson (RB, Atlanta Falcons), Jordan Addison (WR, Minnesota Vikings), Sam LaPorta (TE, Detroit Lions)
The Players With The Most Total Yards In Week 8 Of The NFL Season…— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) October 31, 2023
1. Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs – 189 Yards (152 Rushing, 37 Receiving)
2. Cowboys WR Ceedee Lamb – 170 Yards (158 Receiving, 12 Rushing)
3. Saints WR Rashid Shaheed – 153 Yards (153 Receiving)
T4. Jaguars RB Travis… pic.twitter.com/ZQKGliVTbt
Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY)
For Lions fans, the DROY category may bring a mix of pride and pondering. Devon Witherspoon, who was nearly a Lion, has been a revelation for the Seattle Seahawks. His seamless transition to the NFL has Seattle fans rejoicing over their defensive find at pick number five.
Then there’s Jalen Carter, the defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, who nine teams (including the Lions) passed up on. Carter’s presence in the trenches has been nothing short of elite. Despite some injury hiccups, his performance when on the field has not gone unnoticed, as he’s consistently disrupted offensive lines and applied pressure in the backfield.
Although they missed out on Witherspoon and passed on Carter, Brian Branch’s performance has been stellar. Despite missing two games, Branch’s influence when on the field has been profound. His versatility and instinctive play have been pivotal to the Lions success, positioning him as a standout in a class brimming with talent. His continued presence is expected to propel him further into the award conversation.
- Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seattle Seahawks
- Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
- Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions
- Honorable Mention: Will Anderson (LB, Houston Texans), Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Pittsburgh Steelers), Deonte Banks (CB, New York Giants)
Coming in at No. 1 in our top 10 plays from the first half of the season is Brian Branch's pick-six at Kansas City! pic.twitter.com/RcyQcO7Lfo— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 4, 2023
Coach of the Year (COY)
The Detroit Lions’ upward trajectory is inextricably linked to the leadership of Dan Campbell. His ability to develop talent and foster discipline has transformed the team. This year’s improvements in players like Jared Goff, Derrick Barnes, Tracy Walker III and the revitalization of veterans like Alex Anzalone can be attributed to Campbell’s influence. If the Lions secure the NFC North and a top 2 seed, Campbell’s candidacy for Coach of the Year will be undeniable, with DeMeco Ryans of the Texans as his closest competitor.
- Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
- DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
- Honorable Mention: Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), Robert Saleh (New York Jets), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Will Detroit Lions HC Dan Campbell finish as the 2023 coach of the year? pic.twitter.com/IuUKBOC8ny— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) November 2, 2023
As we look ahead, these mid-season rankings offer a snapshot of a potentially historic year for the Detroit Lions. Their players and coaches have not only entered the award discussions but have also brought hope and excitement back to their fanbase.
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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK