I, for one, have all but ruled the Detroit Lions out the playoff picture. Sure, it seems unlikely given the fact it's the Detroit Lions we're talking about after all, but let me paint you a scenario. Let's say that the Lions start the season with a 2-6 record, which is pretty likely. The last 8 games of the season will be played with every member from the original starting lineup, or close to it. Now, if we can go .500 against the division rivals, that gives us 5 wins right there, considering the condition the NFC North is in right now it doesn't seem that far fetched.
Most people have already ruled out teams like the 1-5 Lions from playoff contention, yet the Lions are surprisingly just 2 1/2 games out of 1st place with 10 games to go. Oh yeah, the franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford is back too.
Let's also factor in a couple upsets, say New England, Dolphins or Jets and a couple road wins like Buffalo and Tampa Bay, or Dallas and you're looking at a 8-8 or 9-7 team. Considering the parity in the NFC, especially the North division, those kind of records could most definitely get you in the playoffs.
Logically, it doesn't seem likely that the 1-5 Detroit Lions have a snowballs chance in hell in a normal NFL season, but this season isn't a normal season to me. With all of the strange calls, the majority of teams being mediocre, teams like the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Seahawks, and Rams all having winning records, it just seems like a season where just about anything is possible. Nobody ever thought the New England Patriots would ever go 16-0, nobody thought the Detroit Lions would go 0-16, but it happened in back to back seasons. The NFL is made to defy logic, it appears.
The last time a team started 1-5 and finished 9-7 was just 6 years ago with the Buffalo Bills, a team that might go 0-16 this year. The Detroit Lions have enough talent right now to be in every game and compete to win for the rest of the season, barring any major injury and crazy amount of stupid penalties at the worst times. They won or just about won all their games but that Minnesota game with 2nd and 3rd string back-up quarterbacks and a bunch of injuries. You have to wonder how good the Lions can really be now that they have their starting quarterback and middle linebacker back and fully healthy.
Let's hope that the season surprises everybody and Stafford get's this team over the hump and wins. The team's future and direction is very promising and for the first time in a decade, it's given the Lions fans happiness in knowing that things are getting better. The talent level on this team is far greater than any in the last 9 years and that alone is a sight for these poor fans sore eyes.