Is the Detroit Lions defensive success a trick or treat?

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jamie Collins, Detroit Lions
Jamie Collins, Detroit Lions (Photo by Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions defense has played much better the last two games. Is it a trick or treat?

The Detroit Lions have turned less into more. After head coach Matt Patricia scaled back his defense and in essence changed his defensive philosophy, it has shown obvious improvement.

After their bye week, the Lions traveled to Jacksonville and scorched the Jaguars. They followed that up with a commendable performance against the Atlanta Falcons. The question is; can they keep it going?

The more things change the more they stay the same. We live in an era where everyone, including Roger Goodell, is captivated by the pyrotechnics of high-flying offenses, but at the end of the day the old axiom still rings true; defense wins championships.

In the Lions case, good defense has been hard to find. Over the course of the last 60 plus years, they have been decent on occasion but have rarely been dominant.

Yet over the last two weeks, they have been pretty respectable on defense and kind of resembled an actual NFL team. This doesn’t mean we should start breaking out the championship banners, but it does present the most compelling reason why the Lions can continue to turn around their season.

The combination of better play defensively and a schedule that is pretty weak will give hope to the Lions faithful that there is a legitimate reason to believe this team will make a run at the playoffs. That being said, is this really a playoff team? With an additional postseason position available in both the AFC and NFC this year, the term ‘playoff team’ has more leeway than it has in years past.

It means that since there are only a handful of truly elite teams in the league this year, the postseason will probably reward a close to .500 team or two. Playoff fodder for the top tier.

Can the Lions be one of those teams rewarded by this year’s extended playoff positions? I guess the only way to answer that is to answer the question I posed earlier; can the defense continue their improved play?