Detroit Lions need improved defense for playoff success

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Case Keenum
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Case Keenum /

If this season has proved anything, it’s that defense wins championships. If the Detroit Lions want future playoff success, that’s where they need to start

There are four quarterbacks left playing in the 2017/2018 season. Tom Brady, Nick Foles, Case Keenum, and Blake Bortles. Probably not the group anyone would have guessed at the beginning of the season, but that’s how this game works. Time for the Detroit Lions to take notes.

A discussion that has been going on among Lions fans since the 2009 season continues, will Matthew Stafford ever see any success in the playoffs? Short answer, no. Not without the help of a dominant Detroit defense.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars have taught us anything this year, it’s that defense defines success. Blake Bortles is less than mediocre at the quarterback position, yet at this moment in time he is undefeated in the playoffs. Why? Because the “Sacksonville Jaguars” defense has been lights out all season.

In fact, if you look at the top five defenses in the 2017/18 NFL season, four of them are still playing. That’s not a coincidence folks. The media loves to look at Case Keenum’s story and talk about how surprising it is – but it really isn’t. Minnesota was the number one defense in the league. Jacksonville was number three, Philly was fourth, and New England was ranked fifth.

Defense was the reason for former head coach Jim Caldwell’s first year success in Detroit.

Remember back the 2014 season when Jim Caldwell led the Detroit Lions to 11-5 in his first season as head coach? The Motor City had the second best defense in the entire NFL. 2014 was the closest quarterback Matthew Stafford ever got to a playoff victory.

I don’t need to bring up the picked up flag or Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant running onto the field without his helmet, that’s all news of the past. Having a monster like Ndamukong Suh cry in his post game press conference was proof enough that the Lions were robbed.

So it’s true that the Detroit Lions desperately need to figure out a successful run game. They need to draft a running back in the 2018 NFL Draft within the first three rounds. But the most important thing that general manager Bob Quinn and the Detroit Lions need to address this offseason is improving the defense.

Next: Lions 2017 season in review - Matthew Stafford

Defense wins championships” is a phrase every sports fan has heard. And whether you agree or disagree, statistics have proven that statement to be true. Motor City quarterback Matthew Stafford can throw for 4,000 yards seven more seasons in a row, but without a lock-down defense, the Lions will remain a team that’s just above average.