Much has been made of the Lions final three games of the 2016 season. ESPN will tell you it's daunting. We here at Pride Of Detroit will tell you it's the hardest schedule remaining in the NFC North and it's not even close. You're friend at work will tell you the Lions are going to lose out and miss the playoffs. In many ways, everyone has a chance to be right about every scenario.
It is daunting, it is hard and they do have a chance to lose all three games. But is this impossible? No, not at all. Despite records, the Giants and Cowboys fit right in line with what the Lions have experienced all season long. Just two more teams they're not supposed to be able to beat.
In reality, the Cowboys and Giants should be plenty worried about the Lions as well. They are 8-1 in their last nine games and the Lions have only allowed 15.4 point per game in the last seven games. That's very good when you consider the Cowboys are allowing 18.7 and the Giants are allowing 16.4. Where things get a little fuzzy is on the offensive side. The Lions are scoring 20.7 points per game in their last seven while the Cowboys have scored 19.8 and the Giants 25.8. Obviously it's the Giants you want to worry about here, as far as offense goes.
Are any of these teams as good as they've looked though? Let's be honest, none of the three have played like the '85 Bears every week. The Lions are 3-4 against winning teams in 2016. The Giants are 3-4 and the Cowboys are 6-2. Maybe the Cowboys are that good. They've had the hardest schedule in the last seven games. They've played games with a combined record of 43-46.
The Lions, on the other hand, have played opponents with a combined record of 38-52. The Giants have had the easiest schedule coming to this point. They have faced teams with a combined record of 35-54 in the last seven games. Perhaps it's fate that all three teams are 7-1 in their last eight games.
What about other factors, like turnovers? The Lions have forced ten turnovers in the last seven games. They've given away five. The Cowboys have forced five and given away seven. And the Giants have forced a crazy 16 turnovers in the last seven games. But they've also turned the ball over ten times themselves.
The Packers aren't going to have an easy road to their match up with the Lions either. They'll have to face the Bears' sixth ranked defense in snowy Chicago with an injured Aaron Rodgers. Then they welcome the Minnesota Vikings, who have already beat the Packers earlier in the season. Let us not forget that the Vikings are still trying to squeak into the playoffs and may also welcome back Adrian Peterson. They also bolster the league's ninth ranked defense. The streaking Packers will have to fight their own battles before they get a shot at Detroit Week 17.
I think the theme of what I'm trying to say here is that while this schedule looks rough and can prove to be rough, there should be no doubt in your mind that the Lions deserve to be in the conversation with these teams. They have continuously proven to be a team that has more confidence than we've probably ever seen a team in Detroit have. Will it be enough to guide them to their first division title in 23 years? We shall soon find out.