After a win over the Seahawks last Sunday the Lions playoff hopes are still alive, but if the Lions hope to make the playoffs they will have to play consistent and win the games they are capable of winning. I broke down the rest of the Lions schedule into three categories: Games the Lions are expected to win, Winnable games, and must wins.
Expected Wins: Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts
This category is exactly how it sounds. These are games that you look at the schedule and expect the Lions to win. If the Lions don’t win these three games then they will have to win games against the Falcons and Texans, who might be the two best teams in the NFL. Let’s hope the Lions don’t put themselves in that situation.
Must Wins: Bears, Packers, at Arizona Cardinals
If the Lions are going to make a second consecutive trip to the playoffs the Lions “must win” these three games to ensure a playoff spot. While the Cardinals are a very beatable team right now, the Lions don’t play them for seven weeks. There is a good chance Kevin Kolb returns, the guy who led the Cardinals to a 4-0 record to start the season.
As for the Packers and Bears, not only are these wins at home a must because it improves the Lions record, but also because it adds another loss to the Packers’ and Bears’ record, which will close the gap in the chase for the NFC North. One of those teams will likely win the division and the other will be competition for the Lions for a wild card berth.
Winnable Games: Falcons, Texans, at Packers
Consider “winnable games” as games the Lions will be fortunate to win but need to come away with a win or two to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s unlikely the Lions beat the Packers twice for the remainder of their schedule so the Lions will need to pull off a win against the Falcons or Texans (both home games for the Lions). It will be tough to win these games, but the Lions have the talent to win against these teams, and home field advantage will certainly help the Lions’ chances.
Overall, it seems as if the Lions are walking a tight rope over Niagara Falls, one slip and they are done for. If the Lions want to guarantee playoffs for themselves they need to finish the season with a 10-6 record, a tough task, but very doable for this squad.