The Detroit Lions have been the doormat of the NFL for pretty much my entire adulthood. The last time this recent laughing stock of the league made the playoffs was in 1999, 12 years ago. The Lions are now 4-0 for the first time in 31 years, tied atop the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers — the only other undefeated team in the league.

What may be even more impressive than the team’s record is the manner in which they have succeeded. Last week, the Lions became the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games after trailing by 20 points in each game. To earn this honor, Detroit came back from 24 points down in the third quarter to beat the Dallas Cowboys, returning two Tony Romo interceptions for touchdowns. I must admit, I enjoy few things more than chuckling menacingly at the Cowboys’ failures. (But why, oh why, did I draft Felix Jones in both of my fantasy leagues!?)

Two years removed from a 0-16 season and another — more infamous — spot in football history, Detroit has changed its entire culture, and Head Coach Jim Schwartz deserves much of the credit. Taking over a winless team, Schwartz seized control as uniforms were changed and locker room seating arrangements were switched up. The franchise began to turn the corner last year, when at 2-10, the Lions defeated the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers 7-3. Amazingly, the Lions have not lost since that Week 14 game last year, with eight straight victories dating back to the end of last season.

The Lion defense, anchored by Ndamukong Suh (who is quickly approaching Ray Lewis/Troy Polamalu territory as a feared game-changing defender), has developed a mean streak. In the past, a trip to Detroit gave your team a chance to get rolling and on the right track. No more.

But where the Lions are really impressive is on the offensive side of the ball. The Detroit offense, anchored by a healthy Matthew Stafford at quarterback and a dude they call “Megatron,” Calvin Johnson, is tied for second in the league with the New England Patriots in points per game, at 33.8.     Megatron currently has eight touchdowns through four games. You probably know this, but maybe you should just read that again. Yeah … wow.

So the current question seems to be: how far are the Lions from being elite?

The true test for the undefeated Lions will come next week in the franchise’s first Monday night game since 2001. Detroit will take on division-rivals and NFC contenders Chicago Bears in an NFC North showdown.

Detroit — with three straight games at home after playing their first three out of four games on the road — could conceivably go 8-0 heading into a Week nine bye. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… I’m just excited to actually watch some football on Thanksgiving. With the Lions actually relevant, I can safely say I will skip my annual Turkey Day nap to watch the Packers/Lions game.

Daily Nexus NFL columnist Ryan Porush will be lining up opposite Megatron in Transformers 4: Far Side of the End Zone.