‘Starting to figure out a way to win’

The longest current winning streak in the NFC does not belong to the Eagles, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Seahawks or Vikings. No, that distinction is currently owned by the Detroit Lions.

Dan Campbell’s squad won its third consecutive game Sunday, the most in the conference (Detroit can be joined by the 49ers, who play Monday night in Mexico City against Arizona), beating the seven-win New York Giants on the road. It’s the first time the Lions have won three straight games since 2017 (Weeks 9-11, streak ended on Thanksgiving vs. Vikings).

“Everything that we said we had to do and needed to do to beat this team, we did that really for almost all of the game,” Campbell said. “There were a couple of spots in there. These guys are playing their asses off and they’re starting to figure out a way to win. We all are. It’s a credit to these guys and the coaches.”

The 31-18 road victory was probably the most impressive performance of Campbell’s tenure. Detroit outplayed a Giants team battling for playoff position, and the Lions did it with the formula we expected entering the season.

Detroit pummeled New York on the ground, rushing for 160 yards on 37 carries with four touchdowns, including three by Jamaal Williams. Jared Goff avoided mistakes and made timely throws.

The defense found life with rookie Aidan Hutchinson intercepting his second pass of the season — the same number of picks as Sauce Gardner. Hutchinson is the first rookie to generate five-plus sacks and two-plus interceptions since Shaquille Leonard in 2018 (Leonard won Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a first-team All-Pro in 2018).

Detroit silenced Saquon Barkley, holding the dynamite back to 22 yards on 15 carries (1.5 yards per attempt), and forced three turnovers on a blustery day in New Jersey.

“It just wasn’t good enough today,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said. “Again, it’s hard to overcome three turnovers.”

The Lions sit at 4-6 following a three-game win streak that has silenced critics wondering if Campbell could survive another dismal season. While they aren’t playoff contenders yet, they’ve shown they can play winning football over the past three weeks. For a young team still trying to figure out how to win together, these experiences can’t be discounted — worry about draft status later, Detroit fans.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Lions will put their win streak on the line against AFC power Buffalo. A matchup that once looked like it would be an epic blowout now has serious intrigue to kick off the “John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration.”

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