Sunday marks the beginning of the second half of the season for the Detroit Lions and more importantly, a push towards the playoffs. A division title is probably out of reach considering the way the Green Bay Packers are playing but another 6-2 half will certainly land the Lions their first playoff berth since 1999.
The second half figures to be more difficult for the Lions than the first so another 6-2 half of the season might be overly optimistic. That being said, the Lions are still in good position for an NFC wild card spot. Here is a quick look at the playoff picture heading into week 10.
The first thing to do to evaluate the playoff picture is to determine who are the contenders and who are the pretenders. Sorry Redskins, Vikings, Panthers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks, you’re not going anywhere.
The 49ers will run away with the NFC West so they are largely irrelevant in discussing the dynamics of the playoff picture. The same probably goes for the Packers.
The Giants have a tough stretch of games ahead of them but they are currently two games clear in the NFC East and deserve the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
That leaves three playoff spots. One will go to the NFC South champion, probably the Falcons or Saints, while two will go to the next best records. Here are the remaining contenders, sorted by record:
Atlanta Falcons (Saints at 6-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Philadelphia Eagles (begrudgingly)
Astute observers will see how vitally important Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears really is. While a loss to the Bears won’t kill the Lions playoff chances, a win would go a long way towards putting the Lions an awfully comfy driver’s seat. That would give the Lions the tie-breaker over the Bears to add to the advantage the Lions hold over the Cowboys and Bucs. What looks like a two-game lead would effectively be three.
What do you think, will the Lions finish this thing off and end the playoff drought?