Despite 50 years of Super Bowls, there are four teams that have yet to make a Super Bowl appearance: the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans and yes, our very own Detroit Lions.
It’s been a quarter century since the Lions’ last playoff win. We’ve had a couple recent playoff appearances, but both have been short-lived.
But this year? Well, this year is looking a little bit different.
The Lions currently sit 3-3 as they rest up during their bye week. Not impressive by any means. When we look a little closer, however, there may be a glimmer of hope after all.
Detroit started 2-0 after road wins against two awful teams in the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. The two wins were followed by a classic Detroit loss to the defending NFC Champions, the Atlanta Falcons.
The reason why it was a classic Detroit loss? The Lions were in the middle of doing something extremely difficult: beating Atlanta, the first or second best team in all the land. They were set up for success, too, as it was third- and -goal from Atlanta’s goal line. The clock was nearing zero, save Detroit’s last timeout.
With just over 10 seconds left on the clock, Matthew Stafford threw a completion to wide receiver Golden Tate that was called a touchdown. After a review by the officiating squad, however, they ruled Tate’s knee down just before the end zone, making it fourth down with a running clock, despite Detroit’s timeout.
It just so happens that, somewhere in the dark depths of the NFL rulebook, a place that Lions fans know all too well (cough, complete the process, cough), there is a rule that says any official review with under two minutes left in the game calls for a 10-second runoff from the game clock.
Ten-second runoff, 10 seconds left, you do the math.
In short, Detroit lost (hideously) to an outstanding Atlanta Falcons team.
The Lions were on the road again in Week Four to face off against an NFC North opponent, the Minnesota Vikings. Detroit’s defense was stellar throughout the matchup, only allowing seven points, which was good enough to bring the Lions’ record to 3-1.
Then, the dark ages set in. In the next two weeks, Detroit has accumulated two consecutive losses. The first was a 27-24 loss to another outstanding team, the Carolina Panthers. Last week, the Lions lost 52-38 to the New Orleans Saints in a painstakingly frustrating game.
Nearly half of the Saints’ 52 points came from its defense, while the other half was in no small part due to 237 yards of rushing. It wouldn’t have even been that big of a deal if it weren’t for the Saints’ defensive line batting more than 10 passes from Matt Stafford at the line of scrimmage, one of which took the game out of reach for Detroit.
So, yeah, there’s been some weird stuff happening to the Lions this year, but what’s new? The good news? There’s a ton of promise for the rest of the season.
Taking a look at Detroit’s schedule, they have it pretty easy from here on out. Their two games against the Packers are analogous to the first day of a class at which you find out there’s no attendance policy — a lot easier than you thought it’d be.
The only truly tough game Detroit has left on their schedule is their next game against the Steelers at home. Other than that, their schedule is filled with teams like the Browns, the Bears, the Bengals, etc.
With that being said, there’s absolutely no reason the Lions shouldn’t get at least 11 wins this season and win the NFC North.
In the meantime, all we can do is root for our Lions because they need all the help they can get. After all, it is Detroit vs. Everybody.
(P.S. Why did Aaron Rodgers have to buy a new dress shirt? The collar was broken.)