As the Detroit Lions push themselves into the playoff conversation, head coach Dan Campbell was asked if this team reminds him of any New Orleans Saints playoff teams from his time there.
The Detroit Lions have won five of their last six games, and at 6-7 they are now one game back in the win column from a Wild Card spot. There’s still work to do and help to get, if they’re going to make the playoffs. But there’s a chance, and that’s all you can ask for in December after a 1-6 start.
Head coach Dan Campbell was the New Orleans Saints tight ends coach from 2016-2020. The Saints made the playoffs in the each of the last four of those seasons, with at least one postseason win three times. So the Lions head coach has seen what a playoff team looks like up close as an assistant coach.
During his Monday press conference, Campbell was asked if this Lions’ team reminds him of any of those Saints teams. He said the 2017 Saints, and via the team website he went into more detail.
"There are similarities,” Campbell said of his current team and that 2017 Saints team. “We had a very young crop of pretty good players, and we had some pretty good veteran players, so there are some things about it.“Nobody knew what we were going to be able to do but we battled it out and we were a tough team. We were physical and we could kind of compete in a number of different ways. To me, there are some similarities.”"
The 2017 Saints went 11-5, won the NFC South and beat the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card Round. Then they lost to the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Round, when Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs connected for the “Minneapolis Miracle.”
The Lions are on a good track now, and even if they don’t make the playoffs this year the future looks bright. They are carving their own image, and it’s a clear reflection of their head coach. Comparison to any other team is not needed.