The Detroit Lions are searching for another playoff appearance, but have made things hard on themselves after two tough losses. Can they save their season?
The Detroit Lions just lost two games in a row and surrendered their chance at winning the NFC North to the Minnesota Vikings. Technically, there might still be a chance, but the tiebreakers are murky and the Vikings would have to completely implode down the stretch. The Lions best chance to save their season lies in the wild card chase.
This is an uphill battle, to say the least. Even if the Lions win all of their last four games, there’s no guarantee they make the playoffs. They’re sitting at 6-6, two games out of the playoffs, tied with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. In front of these teams sit the Atlanta Falcons at 7-5. And currently holding the wild card spots are the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks at 8-4.
An uphill battle? That’s more like scaling a cliff barehanded without any rope. But, anything can happen. It starts with the obvious: win every game from here on out. One loss and the season is over. So, can the Lions save their season?
The answer lies in getting this team ready to play as soon as the ball is kicked off. The past four weeks the Lions have given up double-digit points in the first half before answering with points of their own. As we learned in 2016, the strategy of coming back in the fourth quarter to win games isn’t sustainable. Or, it doesn’t win you playoff games. Spotting teams a lead of 10+ points and winning has already proved to be even less sustainable.
The Lions defense started the season hot with a positive turnover differential. Over the past two weeks, that differential dwindled from +7 to +2. Without winning the turnover battle, this team isn’t winning games. Again with the obvious – limit turnovers and they’ll have a chance to win.
Since Lions head coach Jim Caldwell joined the team in 2014, this squad has made the playoffs every other year. The way things are going in 2017, this pattern looks like it will continue unless the Lions get a lot of help. This team needs to win out and start scoreboard watching.