It's not quite the slam dunk it seemed like it would be a couple weeks ago, as the Minnesota Vikings continue to pull off wins. But the NFC North is still the Detroit Lions' to lose, and their post-bye schedule lines up for them to get it done (including both games against the Vikings, over the final three weeks of the regular season).
The Lions have gotten great performance from a lot of players during their nice start, but there are certainly some players who have not been up to par or they just haven't gotten enough from. A lot of things can go into that underperformance-injuries, playing time, usage that's not ideal, etc. But the bye week may have provided a well-timed rest and reset to foster some better stuff from those kind of guys going forward. Head coach Dan Campbell suggested as much going into the week off, especially on the injury front as some key players get healthy.
Without further ado, here are five players the Lions need more from after their bye week.
5 players the Detroit Lions need more from after the bye week
5. WR Kalif Raymond
To be fair, Raymond belongs in a sub-category of "players the Lions need to get more from" after the bye week. Yes, his skill set/usage overlaps strongly with Amon-Ra St. Brown, with 71 slot snaps (according to Player Profiler) so far this season. But he has also only played 181 offensive snaps through eight games (less than one-third of the Lions' offensive snaps), with 18 catches on 23 targets and four rush attempts for 52 yards.
Raymond is one of the best punt returners in the NFL, and he has shown what he can do when he's been given chances in the offense. There's only one football to go around, but offensive coordinator Ben Johnson should have a plan to get "Leaf" some more touches down the stretch.