The Detroit Lions haven’t won their division since 1993. Fans in Detroit couldn’t have been more excited about the Lions’ chances after week 10 in the NFL came to an end. Just 14 days ago, Detroit had taken control of the division. With a 6-3 record, the Lions were the outright leaders of the division after defeating the Chicago Bears 21-19.
That feeling of excitement has left the city just as quickly as it arrived.
Without their starting quarterbacks, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears both fell to 5-4 after week 10. As both teams were uncertain when their starting signal callers would return, Chicago and Green Bay were expected to struggle in the upcoming weeks and lose ground in the division standings.
The Lions’ next game was on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Usually, this would automatically be considered a loss, but the Steelers were only 3-6 on the season. The Lions scored 27 points in the second quarter, taking a 27-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. With an opportunity to extend their lead to 7 points in the 4th quarter, the Lions failed to convert on a fake field goal in the red zone. The decision to rely on a punter to gain the 5 yards necessary for a first down left me sick. The Steelers went on to score 14 unanswered points, and eventually won the game 37-27.
The Packers fell to 5-5 after their defeat to the New York Giants. Detroit and Chicago were now tied at the top of the division with 6-4 records after the Bears beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Week 12 offered another favorable matchup for the Lions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a 2-8 record and a rookie starting quarterback, were scheduled to pay a visit to Ford Field. The Lions desperately needed to win this game with authority. They needed to make a statement to prove that they can win games that they are supposed to win.
It may have not been the most positive statement, but the Lions did make a clear statement in this game. It was a simple and honest statement; these are the same old Lions, and they are here to stay.
Some argue there’s no such thing as a “good loss” or a “bad loss”, but I believe such things exist, especially in the NFL. The way the Lions lost this game was atrocious. First of all, they turned the ball over 5 times, 4 of which were interceptions thrown by Matthew Stafford. Secondly, the Bucs did everything they could to help the Lions win this game. After a blocked punt, Tampa Bay missed a 35-yard field goal with less than 8 minutes left in the game. 2 minutes later, still only trailing by 3, Detroit lost a fumble as they crossed mid field.
Don’t worry, Tampa Bay would give the Lions great field position after missing a 50-yard field goal. With one minute remaining on the clock, Stafford was picked off for the 4th time on the Buc’s 3-yard line.
What lies ahead
Heading into Thanksgiving, the Lions are now 6-5 and still tied with the Bears for the division lead. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are within striking distance, sitting at 5-5-1.
If the Lions fall to the Packers, who will most likely still be without Rodgers, the only thing to look forward to will be April’s draft. Chicago will also have their starting quarterback return to the starting lineup soon, as they play a struggling Minnesota team next Sunday.
Murphy’s Law states; “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. The Detroit Lions take this one step further; “any hope that may exist, will soon be crushed”.
It’s safe to say I will not be betting my Thanksgiving dinner on the Lions to make a turnaround on Thursday.
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