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Monday open thread: Will the Detroit Lions make the playoffs?

Playoffs? We’re talking about playoffs? After a three-game win streak, the playoffs are suddenly realistic.

Detroit Lions v New York Giants Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions currently hold the NFL’s longest win streak at three games. What a difference a month makes.

The Lions were treading water in the early months of the season, with a tough loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 8 sending them to a lowly 1-6 record. It led to a point where, despite a nice win the following week, many were still ruling out the slim chance of a playoff berth. Even with a hot start from the offense, the passing attack was slumping and the defense was more miss than hit—this did not seem like a recipe for success.

Have things changed?

In defense of the critics, the Lions’ three-game win streak has not come against top-tier threats. The Green Bay Packers have sputtered this season. The Chicago Bears are a raw team still trying to find their footing. The New York Giants were 7-2 entering Sunday, but they had many doubters.

On the other hand, the Lions are showing improvement, and the pieces are slowly coming together. The defense had some hiccups against the Bears, but they have made some clutch plays during this win streak. The young and promising talent has begun to step up, and it is a positive sign for the team going forward. Their victory against the Giants will likely be another positive grade for the unit, thanks to a vastly improved defensive line. Even with the passing game failing to reach its early season highs, the ground game has risen to the occasion.

With the NFC playoff picture murky as Week 11 comes to a close, is there a chance these Lions can continue their winning ways and reach the playoffs?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Will the Detroit Lions make the playoffs?

My answer: I don’t think they will make the playoffs.

I think the remaining schedule is actually favorable for a playoff push, but it might be a bit too late. The close losses early in the season might come back to haunt the Lions’ playoff dreams.

The Lions have to play the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers. The Bills, Vikings, and Jets have winning records, but each team has some concerns. Not only were the Bills forced to play in Detroit due to a snowstorm, but they will be on a short week for Thanksgiving with Josh Allen not at full health. The Vikings got demolished by the Dallas Cowboys this week, and it seems like luck finally caught up to them. The Jets lost a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots where their offense mustered 2.77 inches per play in the second half. The Lions might be underdogs in these games, but they have a chance.

The problem for Detroit, however, is their slow start to the season. With “Monday Night Football” pending, the current Wild Card teams are the Giants (7-3), the Cowboys (7-3), and the 49ers (5-4, will play on Monday). The Washington Commanders (6-5) are knocking on the door as well, with the Atlanta Falcons (5-6) sitting just behind them. The Lions would need a massive slide from the Giants or Cowboys, so the third Wild Card spot looks like the most realistic option. They dug themselves a deep hole with their 1-6 start.

For context, last year’s third Wild Card team, the Philadelphia Eagles, had a 9-8 record. While the NFC looks far weaker this season, it seems unlikely that a sub-500 team will make the playoffs. For the Lions to reach the 9-8 benchmark, they would need to go 5-2 the rest of the way. Not only do the Lions need to pull off an upset or two, but they will also have to fend off a few upsets themselves.

I’m not sure the Lions are good enough to go on such a tear. The defense has seen vast improvements, but can they maintain this pace after early season woes? Can the passing attack regain its form after some lackluster weeks from Jared Goff and company? Injuries have already taken a toll on the Lions, will they continue to mount?

The fact that we’re talking about the playoffs after such a start is a monumental feat for the Lions, but they will need more to go their way if they want to make the dream a reality.

Your turn.


Will the Detroit Lions make the playoffs?

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