NFC North Roundup for NFL Week 12

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Detroit Lions Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson (13) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Lost: Lions 21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24

The Lions are just not going to give themselves any breathing room in the playoff race.

Maybe they would just rather not be in it anymore. That’s what it looks like right now, with back-to-back losses to the 3-6 Steelers and 2-8 Bucs.

With the rest of the division falling apart, the Lions have opted to follow suit instead of taking advantage, furthering the narrative that the Lions cannot play when leading or favored. They have a frustrating tendency to play at or just under the level of inferior competition.

The Lions are sputtering because they aren’t getting production out of the areas they’re supposed to shine in. The pass rush is inconsistent, Matthew Stafford is erratic, and Reggie Bush isn’t providing the consistent spark he was supposed to.

Granted, the Bucs are better than their 2-8 record implies, but the Lions are supposed to be better than 6-5, too. The Thanksgiving game next week against the Packers was always going to loom large, but now it looks more like a potential season-saver for both teams. Whoever loses will have a relationship on a side of .500 they don’t want.

Next Game: 11/28 (Thanksgiving Day) vs Green Bay (5-5-1)