Depending on your view of the Detroit Lions, their 2-12-1 record may be a blessing or a curse.
If you are looking for a championship-caliber team, you are in the wrong place. These Lions are fighting hard in most games, sure, but the playoffs are at the back of everyone’s mind. If you are envisioning a rebuilding franchise, then perhaps those two measly wins are encouraging. In an otherwise lost season, more wins only serve to hurt draft position, a key moment for a rebuild.
Is there a chance the Lions slide just a little further with another win?
The Lions will fall no further than fifth in the upcoming draft, as the Houston Texans, New York Jets, and New York Giants all sit at 4-11. Still, for that to happen, it would mean Detroit closing out this season with back-to-back wins, something they haven’t done since Week 6 and Week 7 of the 2020 season. Can the Lions even muster a single win to close out the season?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Will the Lions win another game this year?
My answer: Let’s look at the upcoming schedule for Detroit.
In Week 17, the Lions travel to face the Seattle Seahawks. In years past, this meeting against Seattle would be a difficult one, as the team was a perennial powerhouse in the NFC. 2021 is a much different story, and all the years of free agent departures, bad trades, and missed draft picks have come back to haunt Seattle. The Seahawks are 5-10 after a miserable late-game loss to the Chicago Bears, and things are looking grim. Some major change has to happen next offseason, whether it is the departure of Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, or John Schneider. They have talent on offense—Wilson, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and a resurging Rashaad Penny—but questions remain about where to go from here.
Seattle was eliminated from playoff contention against the Bears, and they may be demoralized for their game versus Detroit. While their record is better, you have to imagine spirits are higher in the Lions locker room. As such, this could be a winnable game for Detroit. The Lions are opening as seven-point underdogs, which seems pretty high. Seattle is a team struggling to show any fight, while Detroit is feeling good despite a poor record.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Detroit’s Week 18 opponent: the Green Bay Packers. With an NFL-leading record of 12-3, the Packers look primed for a Super Bowl run. The Lions lost to the Packers 35-17 in Week 2, and the Lions haven’t improved enough to shock yet another NFC favorite.
However, the Lions have an advantage: Green Bay may rest its starters. Although the first seed is still up for grabs between the Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay has a one-game lead over them. Green Bay would clinch a first-round bye if they win next week coupled with a Dallas loss. Green Bay has Los Angeles beat in head-to-head record and Tampa Bay beat in versus-conference record, but Dallas has Green Bay beat within the NFC. As a result, Dallas is Green Bay’s only obstacle to securing the top seed after next week.
Oh, and the Minnesota Vikings.
Green Bay faces Minnesota in Week 17, while Dallas faces off against the Arizona Cardinals. A Packers win and Cowboys loss is certainly possible, but it’s worth looking at recent history. The Cowboys are on a roll, having absolutely obliterated the Washington Football Team on Sunday Night Football. Arizona, meanwhile, has lost three games in a row and are choking away their division title.
The Vikings are a mere 7-8, but they had the Packers’ number in their Week 11 matchup. It was a close-fought 34-31 win for Minnesota, and the Vikings have a knack for showing up when nobody expects them. Few teams are hot or cold like Minnesota, and if Green Bay runs into a Vikings team on its game, it could be a tough outing.
In the event Green Bay wins and Dallas loses, the Packers will have nothing to play for in the Week 18 finale. With Aaron Rodgers banged up, it would make sense to give the reins to Jordan Love in a meaningless game. Although Love has promise, his offense only managed seven points in his lone start this year. The Packers may rest multiple starters on offense and defense, and that could be a prime opportunity for the Lions.
Overall, I will spot the Lions one more win. I think the Lions will beat the Seahawks, but I think the Packers will be playing for the top seed in Week 18. Between the pesky Vikings and the Cowboys heating up, the Packers may have to clinch their bye with a win against the Lions. While I would love to play spoiler against Green Bay, if it means securing a high draft pick, that’s a loss I’d happily take.
Will the Lions win another game this year?
This poll is closed
Yes (at Seahawks)
Yes (vs. Packers)