The Detroit Lions’ 2017 season isn’t over, but for a lot of fans, it certainly feels that way. The NFC North is all but a distant dream at this point, and a 5-0 finish just feels unlikely given Detroit’s current level of play. Playoff simulators have the Lions’ playoff chances around 20-25 percent right now, and their chances of actually competing if they get in seem extremely unlikely unless there is some drastic improvement in the final month of the season.
But there are five games left to play on the schedule, which means there are only five more opportunities for the Lions’ players, coaches and front office members to make an impact on the 2017 season.
Based on fan reactions, some want to see the Lions tank for a better draft pick and a higher likelihood of a coaching change. Some are still clinging to playoff chances and hoping that anything can happen once they’re in. Others just want to see something to keep them optimistic about the future. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What do you want to see from the Detroit Lions in their final five games?
My answer: I am one of those that believes the playoffs are still a possible, but difficult task for this team. I saw a real improvement in this team on Thanksgiving, mostly with the front seven on defense. Detroit completely neutralized the Vikings running game for nearly the entire game (I know).
This is how the Lions won games early in the season: stop the opponent’s running game and let the secondary tee off. If they can somehow recapture that magic, not only will it give me some optimism that this unit is making real progress for the future, but it’ll give Detroit a real shot at a winning streak down the stretch.
Additionally, I need to see some progress on the offensive line. Though the future of Travis Swanson is up in the air, the rest of the offensive line is the unit Detroit will likely have in 2018. They have not played well this year, both in terms of protecting Matthew Stafford, but especially when it comes to creating running lanes. Say what you will about Ameer Abdullah, but the run blocking has be a huge disappointment this year. If I don’t see improvement in that in the final five games, it’s hard to feel good about this unit going forward.