Both the Wild Card Round and the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs have been quite incredible. The Tennessee Titans took down the Patriots and shocked the Ravens, the Kansas City Chiefs absolutely smacked down the Texans after looking dead early on, and over half of the games have ended within one possession.
For teams like the Detroit Lions, the playoffs are more than just entertainment, though. Watching all of these top teams in action should hopefully encourage the front office and coaching staff to reevaluate how the organization is currently operating and perhaps borrow some strategy from their peers.
No team in the postseason is perfect, but each of them has to have at least some idea of what they are doing to make it this far. Given that Detroit has been absent in the playoffs since 2016 and that head coach Matt Patricia has never made it this far when in charge, there is obviously some learning left to do.
Today’s question of the day is:
What is your biggest takeaway from the playoffs so far?
My answer: I think there are two big things that stand out to me when watching these playoff games. On the field, it is clear just how important a strong defensive line is. At this point we have beaten to death how frustrating the Lions’ lack of pass rush has been, and watching the playoffs only emphasizes that further. The 49ers continue to dominate opposing offense lines thanks to Nick Bosa, the Packers’ front got the best of Seattle last weekend, and the Titans have leaned on their line to go forward on this miraculous run. The Lions need some more talent up front, but they also need to be willing to get after the quarterback, which is a clear coaching decision.
The other lesson is that running games do matter, which could be good news for Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. While the health of Kerryon Johnson and the lack of depth behind him are still concerning, the team clearly wants to lean on running the football, and that seems to be working out for many of the playoff competitors. Derrick Henry has been grabbing most of the attention, but San Francisco and Kansas City both have a host of backs that have been getting it done, and Aaron Jones is an underrated talent for the Packers. The run game relies on investing in the offensive line as well, which will be a topic for Detroit this offseason. At times it feels like the league is getting more and more pass-heavy, but the playoffs prove that the running game cannot be abandoned.