Defense will determine whether Detroit Lions become frauds down the stretch

The Detroit Lions lost an ugly game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day, and their defense is going to tell the tale of whether they become a fraud from here on out this season.
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Fueled by a mistake-filled effort on offense and a struggling defense, the Detroit Lions suffered their seventh straight loss on Thanksgiving Thursday, 29-22 to the Green Bay Packers.

Things started dubiously, as Green Bay marched the field for an easy touchdown. It became a theme for the day. The Packers put up 377 yards and were 5-for-11 on third down. The Lions just didn't offer much resistance.

While turnovers and red zone mishaps have started to pile up offensively, dating back to the game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Detroit defense has been the most suspect. As Nate Tice of The Athletic and Yahoo! Sports pointed out before Thursday's game, multiple metrics show how the Lions' defense has fallen apart since Week 7.

It's easier to bet on the offense figuring things out given the inconsistent way the defense is trending and the lack of answers they seem to have.

At 8-3, the Lions remain ahead in the NFC North and look poised to be a playoff lock. Whether they remain in contention for a top seed or can do any damage in the postseason will be determined by the defense.

Dan Campbell discusses Detroit Lions' defensive issues

A big problem for the Lions has been their inability to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Detroit didn't make a trade for help at the deadline, and could be coming back to haunt them.

Still, Campbell hasn't lost confidence in his defense, particularly the players up front.

"Same guys we've had here. And we've been able to generate pressure. This unit's going yo be just fine. They're going to get going. We pressured a little bit more today, played a little tight. But these are our guys. These guys can do it and they've done it. That same team we just faced there, when we went out to Green Bay we were able to create pressure. We weren't able to do it today. When we come back, everybody's going to be challenged as well as myself. I already feel challenged. This is how we should want it."

Sheer pressure numbers haven't always been an issue for the Lions, it's finishing with sacks that has been a struggle.

The Lions have to find a way to step up the heat on quarterbacks moving forward, and better marry coverage to upfront scheming. Otherwise, things may only get worse.

Next. Detroit Lions Week 12 Report Card: Lions fail to match Packers' intensity on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit Lions Week 12 Report Card: Lions fail to match Packers' intensity on Thanksgiving Day. dark