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Monday open thread: Will the Lions make the playoffs?

Can the Lions make the postseason for the first time under Patricia?

Wild Card Round - Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The playoffs have been a distant dream for Detroit Lions in recent years, but could 2020 be a change of fortunes? The Lions have failed to earn a .500 record under head coach Matt Patricia, let alone make the playoffs, but this upcoming season has plenty of optimism.

Patricia’s previous two seasons can be discounted, for what it’s worth. 2018 featured a roster composed mainly of holdovers from the Jim Caldwell and Teryl Austin era, and given Patricia’s significantly different defensive scheme, it made sense that it would take time to build his team. 2019, meanwhile, showed promise early on, but a Matthew Stafford injury halfway through all but doomed the season.

The offense should only be better in 2020 with a healthy Stafford, plenty of solid targets, and a young backfield. The defense has been reworked, especially with the departure of Darius Slay, but the additions of Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant, and Jamie Collins give the Lions plenty to work with. This could be the make-or-break year for Patricia, and it is looking like playoffs or bust.

The Lions are also getting some help from the league with their playoff aspirations. No, the referees have not been paid off. Instead, the NFL has expanded their playoff format by implementing a third Wild Card team. You might not think that a team coming off a 3-12-1 season will even matter, but the Lions were not as bad as the record indicated. Would the Lions have lost to the Bears, Washington, Buccaneers, and Broncos with Stafford playing? I would wager not. A record around .500 was a possibility last year.

Of course, playoff teams rarely have 8-8 records, so not only do the Lions have to prove that 2019 was misleading, but they will have to show enough improvement to claim a spot.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Will the Lions make the playoffs?

My answer: I do not think the Lions will make the playoffs. I am a bit more optimistic than a 5-11 record, but the odds seem stacked against them.

The Packers and Vikings seem like good bets to make the playoffs, so that rules out one Wild Card spot. The 49ers and Seahawks are both coming off double-digit win seasons and should be atop the NFC West again in 2020.

Let’s pretend that the Eagles and Saints win their divisions. Can the Lions compete with the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals, and Rams? It is hard to say right now. It is very rare that a division consists of four good teams, so the Lions will likely benefit from at least one NFC South or West team falling off. However, it still showcases how good the NFC is.

If the Lions can regain their form from the start of the 2019 season, it would bode well for their chances. However, a playoff push is a lot of ask for, and I do not think they have the team—or the coach—to do so.

Your turn.

Poll

Will the Lions make the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Yes
    (428 votes)
  • 45%
    No
    (354 votes)
782 votes total Vote Now