The Detroit Lions are now 4-5, but there are plenty of mixed emotions to be had.
The Lions are closing in on the 5-4 Chicago Bears for second in the division, pending Chicago’s Monday Night Football game. The NFC West has a logjam of three 6-3 teams vying for the division title, two of which are clinging to Wild Card spots. Coupled with the expanded playoffs—and the possibility of a 16-team playoff if COVID hits hard—the Lions are still in the hunt despite all the struggles.
However, those struggles cannot be glossed over. A win is great, but there are issues that persist for this team, ones that will hurt them even if they make the playoffs. The biggest red flag thus far is the secondary, middling at best and pitiful at worst. We saw more woes from the secondary against Washington, and the recent weeks have not been pretty:
In the past 4 games (151 pass attempts), the #Lions secondary has:— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) November 16, 2020
- 0 INTs
- 3 total passes defended
In theory, this team is in the playoff hunt. In practice, they are treading water at best.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ win over Washington?
My answer: I feel worse.
It is honestly spectacular that the Lions even have four wins this season. This team looks no different than their Week 1 selves. This week, they had the benefit of a bottom-tier opponent, and they still blew a double-digit lead. The last second Matt Prater missile of a field goal does not change the circumstances leading up to it nor make them better. Any decent team would have buried Washington in the third quarter. Any decent team would have capitalized on the multiple failures from the Lions defense.
The offense finally fed D’Andre Swift the ball to great success, but the team desperately needs to improve their execution. The defense, meanwhile, is scary for all the wrong reasons. They are not giving up massive plays, but opponents are consistently chipping away at their coverage and the clock. Washington had seven drives with eight or more plays. If it weren’t for a missed field goal, a fumble, and general struggles from Washington’s offense, Detroit likely loses this game.
Another reason why I feel worse is that it could mean no changes for the Lions front office or coaching staff. The organization might be content to keep Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn until the end of the season and perhaps into 2021. As mentioned, this team has shown no adaption under Patricia, only regression. We have reached the point where the team is not going to improve under this staff.
However, the Lions have eked out four wins this season, so some might deem it positive progress for the team. I view those wins as a façade. Kyler Murray struggled. The Jaguars are a bottom-two team. Todd Gurley made a crucial mistake. Detroit nearly choked against an awful Washington team.
I am really happy that Prater found redemption. I am proud of the players for battling through this season so far. I am excited that Swift is finally getting the touches he deserves. I am also cautious. Even in the wins, there are concerns about this team. I cannot see them competing against playoff-caliber teams on a regular basis. The team might win a few more games this year, but I’m doubtful that there will be any progress from the team as a whole.
How do you feel about the Lions after their win over Washington?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse