It had to come down to this. Five games stand in the way of the Lions’ playoff hopes, as does the fate of the NFC South and a couple other teams. On its face it seems crazy. This team? Winning five games in a row? Not a chance, right?
Wrong. There is a chance. In fact, if there were ever a better chance for the Lions to do this, I certainly can’t remember it.
I believe the Lions can run the table. Whether they do or not is up for discussion, but here are five reason they should.
This team really isn't as bad as you think they are
Yeah, I’m talking about the 6-5 Lions right now. I think what we aren't considering about the Lions is that they have had an insane schedule to this point.
combined record of the 5 teams DET has lost to: 41-14 (0.745), average record of 8.2 - 2.8. that's pretty nuts.— Kalsarikännit Al ❕ (@LethalSax) November 27, 2017
Look at that. No team in front of the Lions has had to deal with this. However, several teams are facing down the barrel of a similarly tough schedule ahead. This is why the Lions have a path from 6-5 to the playoffs.
I don’t think anyone should be discouraged that the Lions have hung in there, but still lost to the beat teams in the league. This team just isn't there yet. The simple point of No. 1 is that this schedule is super easy, which helps make point No. 2.
The Lions beat bad teams
We talk about how unsure we are about the Lions in this stretch. But the Lions have not shown in 2017 that they can't beat bad teams. All they’ve shown is that they can. Even when they play bad.
The Lions are 5-0 against teams with losing records. Three of those wins came on the road. Two of them against division rivals. The Lions can flat out beat these teams. We have nothing in 2017 to say that they can’t, except those pesky slow stars. Let’s talk about those.
The Lions start slow, but they finish strong
Last night my wife and I were watching 1983's Mr. Mom when we saw this. The Lions started 1-4 that year. pic.twitter.com/5Q6RoxtxSf— Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) October 27, 2015
I’ve waited for a moment to include that tweet in an article. I just captured that moment.
But why do ignore that the Lions went on to outscore the Browns 38-14? Or the Bears 27-14? This isn’t new territory for this team, it’s same old, same old.
They’re a second half team. Take a look at the split stats. The Lions get better as the game goes on. They’ve been money in the second half all season, both on offense and defense. They’ve only allowed 12 second half touchdowns in 2017. They’ve allowed 16 in the first half.
Slow starts hurt,but it seems to be something the Lions can continue to get themselves out of ,even in games they lose. But don’t get me wrong, it needs to be fixed.
Their opponents are really bad
The Lions next five games will be against some of the worst offenses in the league. And I mean the worst.
If you needed to run the table with a bad defense, this is the schedule you’d beg for.
Defensively, it’s a different story. Baltimore ranks seventh, Chicago comes in at 12 and the Bengals are at 13th. The Packers and the Bucs come in at 23rd and 32nd respectively.
The Lions haven’t had a problem putting up points against good defenses in 2017 though. They’ve dropped 20 or more points on the second, fourth, fifth, ninth and 10th ranked defenses this year.
This isn’t the (fill in the year) Lions
Lions fans do this all the time. I’m guilty of this, too. We tend to compare the Lions to the Lions. We think they can’t do this because we think they never have.
We look at the 2013 Lions and immediately place the same issues that train wreck team had on this team.
If that’s your logic, I can’t help you. You’re destined to believe this season will pan out in a negative way, and maybe it will and you’ll feel good about being right.
This Lions team has things the 2013 team didn’t. Like an offense that doesn’t have Kris Durham as it’s No. 2 receiver.
The Lions should run the table because they have the talent and they have a super easy schedule. They also have the teams in front of them that are about to get out of the way. Whether they actually do it or not should be interesting to watch. And whether they can beat a good team in the playoffs is a whole other story that we don’t have to get into today.