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Tuesday open thread: Will the Detroit Lions make the playoffs?

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Given what you know about the team after seven weeks, do you think they’ll make the playoffs?

Washington Redskins v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

That’s right. We’re opening up these can of worms. The p-word. Playoffs. The Detroit Lions are 4-3 and just a half a game behind the current holders of both Wild Card spots. The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles are both 4-2 and they sit at five and six in the NFC respectively.

The Lions, through a complicated mess of tie-breakers, sit atop all three 4-3 teams in the NFC and are nipping at the heels of the Eagles, a team they hold the tiebreaker over after defeating them earlier in the month.

Detroit’s play has been inconsistent, but in the end they are in the thick of things despite injuries and a load of bad play from their defense. So today’s Question of the Day is:

Will the Detroit Lions make the playoffs in 2016?

My answer: No. I do think this team has the talent to make the playoffs and it is certainly within the realm of possibilities. However, I don’t think this team reaches the postseason for two reason. The first is obvious: this defense. Detroit has been playing with fire in nearly every game this season. The defense has blown several double digit leads all year and have required Matthew Stafford to come up with late-game heroics in every Lions win this season. While Stafford has shown he is more than capable of that, the truth is for every team in the NFL, their record in close games tend to finish close to .500. If every game continues on the trend they’re currently on, the Lions would have to be incredibly lucky to finish better than 9-7.

Additionally, the Lions’ schedule is brutal. As we pointed out last week, the Lions had the second-hardest schedule entering Week 7. Here’s how it looks right now:

at Texans (4-3)
at Vikings (5-1)
vs. Jaguars (2-4)
vs. Vikings (5-1)
at Saints (2-4)
vs. Bears (1-6)
at Giants (4-3)
at Cowboys (5-1)
vs. Packers (4-2)

That’s five of the nine remaining games on the road, four of those against team with winning records. Only three games are against teams with losing records. And that final stretch of at Giants, at Cowboy and at home against the Packers is a brutal string of three games to end the season. So I still have the Lions on the outside looking in.

Your turn.