For the first time since 2011 and only the second time this century, the Detroit Lions are playoff-bound. The Lions officially clinched a spot in this season's playoffs with the Philadelphia Eagles losing to the Washington Redskins on Saturday.
The Lions' road back to the NFL playoffs was an interesting one, to say the least. After earning a wild-card spot with a 10-6 record in 2011, the Lions seemed destined to be a perennial playoff contender under Jim Schwartz. That did not turn out to be the case, though. Instead, the Lions followed up their first playoff appearance since 1999 with a 4-12 season. To make matters worse, they collapsed down the stretch a year ago and finished 7-9.
This year, with Jim Caldwell leading the way, the Lions already have 10 wins with two games to go. At worst, they'll finish 10-6 this season, and at best, they'll go 12-4, win the NFC North and secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. Their fate will ultimately be determined by how their next two games play out.
For now, the only thing that matters is that the Lions are headed back to the playoffs. They've only won a single playoff game since 1957, but they will have an opportunity to change that this season.