It is about this time every week that I bring you a Q&A to familiarize us all with that week’s opponent. Things are a little different with the Lions on their bye, so I reached out to Josh Sanchez, editor at NFL Spin Zone, to get an outsider’s view on our Detroit Lions.
My thanks go out to Josh for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out NFL Spin Zone for commentary on all the action around the league.
Zac Snyder: What is your analysis of the Lions through the first half of the season?
Josh Sanchez: The Lions have been an incredible story. They are one of the team’s who are a joy to watch week in and week out because of their top level talent all over the field. Their run defense and rushing offense scare me a little bit in the long run, but the new toughness that Jim Schwartz has given these Lions make them one of the league’s top organizations.
ZS: Are the Lions a playoff team?
JS: Absolutely. You have to acknowledge that the Packers will likely win the NFC North, but the Detroit Lions are right there in the Wildcard mix. When you look around the other NFC divisions, Detroit seems to be the conference wide leader to win the five or six seed. In the NFC East there is a log jam of mediocrity and the NFC West won’t be sending anyone but their division winner. The NFC South will probably send the second wildcard team. I’m no oddsmaker, but I’d give Detroit a 75% chance of making the postseason.
ZS: Do you have any reservations acknowledging the Lions aren’t the “same old Lions” anymore?
JS: As I mentioned in the beginning, their rushing offense and defense. Those are the two areas you need to excel in as the season progresses to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl threat. That and Matthew Stafford’s health are all you need to worry about. If the team can keep Stafford upright, then the offense will be able to overcome having the 26th ranked rushing offense. I think they have all of the tools to make a serious run. These are not the “same old Lions.”
ZS: What do you make of the Lions being labeled a dirty team?
JS: It is absolutely absurd. The Lions are not a dirty team and Ndamukong Suh is not a dirty player. They are a hard-nosed team who uses their physicality to put fear in their opponents eyes. They are playing within the rules and just make sure every second of every play counts. You know the saying, “play through the whistle, not to the whistle.” Well, that is your Detroit Lions team and I love it.
ZS: What do you expect from the Lions in the second half of the season?
JS: We will get a taste of just how serious the Lions chances are moving towards the postseason. Detroit has the Saints, Chargers, Bears and Packers twice. If they can win just three of those five games, I see the Lions finishing 12-4 and easily securing that Wildcard spot.
ZS: Anything else you’d like to say to Lions fans?
JS: Lions fans have proven to be some of the best fans in the NFL. It hasn’t been easy being a Detroit fan, but the fans are now being re-payed for their loyalty with this team that is front of them now. I just want to tell the Lions fans to stay loyal and enjoy the talent on this team.