The NFC is down to its final four teams. What should be the elite of the conference does little to inspire much, if any, awe. Lions fans should be quick to admit that these teams are in a better position than the current state of the Lions, but there also isn’t any reason to believe the Lions can’t catch up in the next couple years.
The Seattle Seahawks slipped into the playoffs as a result of the division they belong to rather than the overall merit of the resume they accumulated over the course of the regular season. Although the Seahawks did manage one more win than the Lions in the regular season, Seattle was less competitive overall. All nine of Seattle’s losses came by at least 15 points.
The Chicago Bears beat the Lions twice this season, but one of those games ended in controversy as a potential game-winning touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson was ruled incomplete. Perhaps you’ve heard about that. At any rate, the Lions two games against the Bears did little to distinguish our rivals from Chicago as a vastly superior team.
The Lions played a close game at Lambeau Field and harassed Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the process. That game ended in a loss but the Lions validated that performance as a sign of progress by putting together their best defensive game to beat the Packers later in the season.
The Atlanta Falcons put together an efficient regular season to emerge as the NFC South Champion and number one seed in the NFC playoffs. The accomplishment can’t be discounted but the Falcons aren’t a flashy team that strikes fear in their opponents. A few bounces of the ball the other way and the Falcons could be in a very different position. There isn’t any reason to expect the Lions can’t overcome a team like the Falcons if their rebuilding plan continues as we hope and expect.