Matthew Stafford and the offense are heating up
Matthew Stafford has been on point the last two games. On Sunday, he went 26-for-34 for 311 yards and three touchdowns, and just generally speaking, he seems locked in right now. Part of that obviously stems from the fact that he went up against the Buccaneers this week and the Chicago Bears last week, but regardless of the competition, these numbers are extremely impressive:
Matthew Stafford the last two weeks: 60/79 (75.9%) for 701 yards (8.9/att), 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 123.4 passer rating. #Lions 68 points.
— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) December 7, 2014
The offense in general really seems to be operating much more smoothly right now. Again, the competition has something to do with that, and the running game still has a lot of issues, but when Stafford plays like this, chances are the Lions are going to win more often than not.
The defense made Sunday miserable for Josh McCown
I actually felt somewhat bad for Josh McCown by the end of Sunday's game. He took a lot of abuse from the Lions' front seven, as Detroit recorded six sacks and 14 quarterback hits. What's more, some of the hits McCown took were quite rough, especially from Ndamukong Suh, who was impressed with his toughness.
Suh said he admires McCown for getting up after some of the hits he took today.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 7, 2014
McCown finished with 250 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he almost certainly finished with several bruises from the beating he received on Sunday. Teryl Austin devised a really smart game plan to constantly put pressure on McCown and exploit Tampa Bay's shaky offensive line.
Two more wins should get this team into the playoffs
The Lions' last two games looked to be extremely winnable on paper, and that turned out to be an accurate assessment with them winning each one by 17 points. The Lions have taken care of business so far during this stretch of winnable games, and they have two left with the Minnesota Vikings and Bears up next on the schedule.
I know there are scenarios out there where the Lions could miss the playoffs even with 11 wins, but it's unlikely. In other words, if the Lions can take care of business the next two weeks, they should be headed to the playoffs, and they should have a Week 17 showdown with the Green Bay Packers to determine the NFC North champion. The Lions definitely don't want to have to rely on winning that game at Lambeau Field to make the playoffs, so they need to continue to take care of business the next two weeks. If they do, everything else should fall into place when it comes to the playoffs.
Bonus: Brady Quinn did a solid job on Sunday
I criticize FOX's NFL coverage quite a bit, especially when it comes to their announcers. However, I thought Brady Quinn did a really good job as the color commentator during Sunday's game. Play-by-play announcers Dick Stockton wasn't so good, which isn't a surprise at this point, but Quinn correctly predicted plays on multiple occasions and provided good analysis throughout the game. Well done.