The Detroit Lions took a step back last weekend. It might sound harsh to say, it was just one game after all, but the NFL is a results oriented business and there are just one result that matters: winning.
A lot has been made of the Lions’ inability to win against the league’s top teams. Yes, the Lions are still looking for that true signature win, but while they came up short in that regard a year ago, they also avoided losing the “should win” games.
The Lions’ only losses a year ago came at the hands of playoff teams plus a road loss to the Chicago Bears who were in the thick of the hunt until injuries derailed their season. There were certainly some “could win” games in that bunch but didn’t lose a “should win”.
Last week’s game against the Titans was a “should win”.
What does it mean going forward? It means making sure there aren’t any more games like that the rest of the season, starting with beating the Vikings on Sunday. The Vikings are a good story early in the 2012 season. Adrian Peterson has returned from a devastating knee injury and last week’s upset over the mighty 49ers has the Vikings sitting at a surprising 2-1. As far as the Lions are concerned, the Vikings are just the team in their way of getting back on track.
No matter what has happened through the first three weeks, the Lions should beat the Vikings at Ford Field. Another loss and the Lions would fall to 1-2 in “should win” games, representing another step back. The margin for error at that point becomes razor thin – even with assumed playoff contenders Green Bay and New Orleans also struggling out of the gate. A signature win becomes a must if the Lions are to save their season. That doom and gloom scenario is avoided, for the time being, with a win over the Vikings on Sunday.