After a disappointing loss to the NFC leading Arizona Cardinals, the Detroit Lions were blown out in another offensive disappointment against the New England Patriots. Matthew Stafford had his worst statistical game since the snow bowl and the struggling offense failed to reach the end zone for another week.
With plenty of blame to go around, the three game stretch at 1-2 was the toughest three games on the Detroit Lions schedule, which dropped their season record to 7-4 in a competitive NFC. Hopes are not high among the fan base despite the record as the offense continues to look out of sorts and the defense appeared vulnerable for the first time this season.
The Patriots and Cardinals were never going to be easy outs, but there is some good tidings in the near future as the Detroit Lions schedule lightens up in their return to Ford Field for their annual Thanksgiving game, this year against the Chicago Bears. They follow this up with home games against the Buccaneers and Vikings, before hitting the road again. This three game stretch poses different challenges than the last three, but it’s no less important. The Lions no longer hold the NFCN lead, and indeed have fallen out of a playoff berth for the moment.
Things might look dire after the past two weeks, but the Detroit Lions are facing a Bears club that has played some of the most uninspired football of any teams this season. They’ve rebounded in recent weeks, but if you want to watch a team completely give up after the first drive of football, turn on the Patriots or Packers games against the Chicago Bears. The team is a mess and they face the Detroit Lions in Ford Field, in prime time, after an embarrassment they’ll want to bounce back from.
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After that, the Lions host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Tampa managed to blow an opportunity to ground Chicago last week, and have only managed wins against a hopelessly inept Washington squad and a surprise win over the Steelers. The Bucs have bounced between former Lion and long time backup Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, with neither proving enough to keep them on the field. First round pick Mike Evans has been impressive (He was my 3rd overall player in this draft, ahead of Sammy Watkins), but the Bucs QB play and porous defense should make that game an easier out than they had against their other NFCS opponents.
Their last home game of the season (Unless, you know, playoffs) is against the Minnesota Vikings and impressive rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has flashed some big time ability, but left tackle Matt Kalil was eaten alive by Ziggy Ansah the last time the teams squared off and Bridgewater was sacked a season high 8 times. The Vikes are winless in their division, and their only victories came against bottom tier teams. This might turn out to be the toughest of the three games, however, as the Vikes gave the Packers one heck of a scare this past week, losing by only a field goal.
While the Lions had the luxury of going 1-2 in their tough stretch, they might need to win all three of these games to remain in playoff contention. The team’s elite defense needs to get back to their winning ways and the offense needs to figure something out, quick. I’m not big no predictions, but while I wasn’t upset with the Arizona or NE losses, a loss in any of these three games would be very difficult to overcome.