How many games do the Detroit Lions need to win this season in order to secure themselves a return to the playoffs for the third time in four years?
It’s been a strange season for the Detroit Lions. After winning three of their first four games to start the year, the Lions appeared to be one of the best teams in the NFL. But the Motor City’s engine fell out afterwards, losing three straight.
But this resilient Lions’ squad dusted themselves off and fought back, posting solid wins against the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers in the past two weeks. They were certainly games Detroit should have won, but actually doing so is an accomplishment in itself.
With a record of 5-4, the Lions can possibly gain some ground on the NFC North leading 7-2 Minnesota Vikings as they are scheduled to face another divisional rival, the 3-6 Chicago Bears on a very chilly Soldier Field this weekend.
But as we turn our attention to Week 11, it’s a good opportunity to take some time to look at the upcoming schedule and try to determine how many wins the Lions will need to return to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
According to one Lions’ insider, the magic number is five more victories.
"“There’s still a lot of football to be played, and a lot of the teams at the top of the conference have some tough games ahead of them,” wrote Tim Twentymen for the team’s official website. “It should be a great playoff race down the stretch. Lions fans should expect at the very least 10 wins to be the benchmark they have to get to.”"
For the Lions, getting five more wins in their next seven games is certainly doable. Following this Sunday’s matchup with the Bears, Detroit will face the Vikings at Ford Field on Thanksgiving. If they are able to win both games, and the Vikings lose to the 7-2 Los Angeles Rams this weekend, then the Lions could take the top spot in the NFC North.
The Detroit plays their next two games on the road, against the 4-5 Baltimore Ravens and the 3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions will finish their season hosting the Bears, traveling to Cincinnati to play the 3-6 Bengals and finally, facing the Packers again, this time in the Motor City.
With the exception of both Green Bay and Minnesota, two divisional foes Detroit has already defeated once each this season, the other five teams the Lions will face all have losing records at the moment.
The Detroit Lions clearly have a favorable road to returning to the playoffs this season. They simply have to beat teams that they statistically should and/or teams they’ve already defeated previously this year. Winning five out of their next seven contests shouldn’t be too difficult … on paper. But that’s why they play the games, right?