The Lions lost their 6th Thanksgiving game in the last 7 years last Thursday by falling to the Packers 37-26. At the same time, the Lions lost their third consecutive game, putting any hopes of making the playoffs on life support.
Going into the Packers game and even the Giants game, I said that it was vital that Detroit got at least 1 win out of the 2 games. After they lost both, their chances of making the playoffs decreased big time. Surprisingly, if the season ended today the Lions would be in as they control the second wild card spot, but with 6 teams only a game back, one loss could put them out of it for good.
Here is the current wild card standings in the NFC:
- New York Giants (7-4)
- Detroit Lions (6-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
- New Orleans Saints (5-6)
- Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
- Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
- Washington Redskins (5-6)
- Chicago Bears (5-6)
As you can see, Detroit really has no room for error in the coming weeks if they want to make the playoffs. With 6 teams just a single game behind, one loss could do the Lions in. On top of that, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Washington all hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions since they all beat the Lions. Detroit has the same with Chicago after sweeping them this season and then Minnesota is their opponent on Sunday.
After watching the Vikings absolutely destroy the Giants yesterday, my concerns for Sunday rose quite a bit. Minnesota has improved a lot since they lost in overtime to the Lions earlier this season. Adrian Peterson has become one of the league's best running backs, and although he didn't even dress yesterday due to his injury, New York still got smoked by Minnesota. It is looking like he might be back for the Lions game on Sunday, so it could be another thing to worry about.
When it comes down to it, this team has to ask themselves what they want to be remembered for in 2007. They could win a couple games before the end of the season to reach .500, and in my opinion that would be a successful season. After a 6-2 start others may disagree, but going back to what my expectations were at the very start of the season, 8-8 would exceed them. The other thing the Lions could be remembered for is winning a couple more games and making the playoffs. I'd say 9 wins are necessary to secure a wild card spot since so many teams are only a game back, and if the Lions could manage to pull that off then it would definitely be a great season.
The final thing that the Lions could be remembered for in 2007 is the worst case scenario possible: winning 1 or 0 more games this year. Unfortunately, something a collapse like that isn't unrealistic at all. The schedule is just brutal down the homestretch and continues to be that way with a tough away game against Minnesota on Sunday. The next opponent is the Dallas Cowboys, who play Green Bay on Thursday in a game that will determine who the best in the NFC is. Regardless of that outcome, the Cowboys are a great team and a Lions win would be a huge upset. To finish out the year, Detroit heads to San Diego to play the Chargers, comes back home to play the Chiefs (best chance for a win comes against KC), and then plays at Green Bay on the season's final day.
Overall, I don't like the Lions' chances simply because of the tough schedule. If the Lions were going to have any shot at making the playoffs, a 3-game losing streak at this point in the season could not happen. Not that it has, the Lions will have to win some tough games that they aren't favored in. I don't know about the rest of you when it comes to having hope in this team, but now I'm just wanting them to get 2 more wins to be .500 on the season. Anything more, such as a playoff berth, would be a welcomed surprise.