The Detroit Lions have been good, but considering the way they’ve won, many people have begun to question the validity of their 6-2 record, which currently has them atop the NFC North.
It’s true, Detroit has won some games thanks to the errors of the opposition. They’ve also had a definite bit of luck on their side as well, especially the last two weeks against the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, either of whom should have won the game with one more play.
But, in the end, the Lions are still standing. They’ve used some elite defensive efforts to spearhead their wins, and have hung tough offensively without Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Brandon Pettigrew and seemingly all of their elite difference makers.
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That will help them during a tough second half. Over the final half of the season, the combined record of teams Detroit plays is over .500 at 28-25. They will face consecutive road challenges at Arizona and New England before finishing the season out on the road against Chicago and Green Bay.
In other words, if the Lions want to make the playoffs or even win the division, they’ll have to score wins that many would consider an upset. Arizona, New England and Green Bay are three places Detroit doesn’t win historically, so they will likely be viewed as the underdogs in three of the biggest games the rest of the way.
Unlike years past, in 2014, the Lions will get the job done. Detroit will win two of their three toughest games against those foes, setting themselves on the path to a big finish. The justification? Confidence. The Lions know they can win without their elite players against good teams, and they also know they can survive in unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable locales.
Unlike years past, in 2014, the Lions will get the job done. Detroit will win two of their three toughest games against those foes, setting themselves on the path to a big finish.
Learning those lessons in the first half against teams like New Orleans and the New York Giants at home, while collecting road wins against Minnesota, the New York Jets and Atlanta in London will certainly help. As Detroit gets healthier, their confidence will only stand to grow more.
Defensively, the Lions have the right mindset and coaching to get the job done in a big game as well. In the past, there was a sense the team was only one big play away from cracking. This season, that hasn’t proven to be the case, as multiple big defensive plays have often been the key to turnarounds.
Many will look at the second half and beleive the conditions are ripe for another major Detroit collapse. That glass is also half full given the team’s success thus far. The Lions should have the health and the quiet confidence to peak at the right time of year instead of plummet.
Along the way, they will even pull a pair of stunners.