The Detroit Lions continually find new ways to lose games, but will they actually get out of their own way and put a mark in the win column this season?
On Thanksgiving Day the Detroit Lions found another unique way to lose, though coaching errors were bound to take center stage over everything else a some point this season. And even if they hadn’t essentially ceded a first down deep in the red zone with soft pass coverage and been penalized for calling back-to-back penalties, the Chicago Bears only needed a field goal to win and it just happened to only be a 28-yarder necessary to get it done.
At 0-10-1, and with someone in line to win Sunday’s game between the 2-8 Houston Texans and 2-8 New York Jets, the Lions grip on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is only getting better. At this point, a mark in the win column is the season’s goal.
Will the Lions find a way to win a game this season?
Back in October, we examined the chances the Lions would go 0-17. With six games to go now, a tie in the books and just two games left against teams currently with a losing record, let’s look at each game and try to ballpark the Lions’ chances to win each.
Week 13 vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Lions nearly beat the Vikings back in Week 5, taking the lead in the final minute before the defense prevented absolutely nothing and Minnesota drove for a game-winning field goal. Being at home this time might be helpful, but this game is as likely to be close as it a blowout in favor of the Vikings.
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 35%
Week 14: at Denver Broncos
Going on the road to Denver is a unique challenge for teams who don’t play there regularly. But these Broncos are 5-5 after a 3-0 start against soft competition, and they have a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who is ill-equipped to take full advantage of good matchups. And with the way Detroit’s defense has been playing lately, they are not a pushover.
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 55%
Week 15: vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals should have Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins back for this game. Even if they somehow don’t, that’s likely to just narrow their margin of victory over the Lions.
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 5%
Week 16: at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are worse than their 4-6 record would indicate, and it has shown in their last two games–a 43-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and 25-0 loss to the New England Patriots that didn’t feel that close. This looks like the most winnable game the Lions have left.
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 68%
Week 17: at Seattle Seahawks
This feels like the end of an era in Seattle, with Russell Wilson almost surely playing elsewhere next season and head coach Pete Carroll perhaps on his last legs as Seahawks’ head coach. It’s not out of the question for Seattle to be 4-12 and almost checked out when this game comes. The Lions may be able to pounce, and go home with a close, ugly win. Can you say…back-to-back road wins?
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 45%
Week 18: vs. Green Bay Packers
This game may mean nothing to Green Bay for their playoff seeding/homefield advantage, which opens the door for Detroit to win against a bunch of backups if they’re still engaged. But if the Packers have something to play for, all bets are off for how ugly this one could get.
Lions’ percentage chance to win: 8%
It is not out of the realm of possibilty the Lions win not just one (mark me down for the Falcons in Week 16), but two (Week 14 against the Broncos) or even three (Week 17 against the Seahawks) games from here on out. Some might think they’re bound to go winless, but I only see two opponents (Cardinals and Packers) they absolutely can’t beat under normal circumstances.
The learning curve that has led to critical shortcomings in key moments thus far has to be flattening, and as long as Dan Campbell hasn’t lost the team the Lions will get a mark in the win column before the season is over. Just don’t expect it to be pretty.