The Detroit Lions have not seen the NFL playoffs since 2016. Since then, Four of those five seasons have seen the Lions head off licking their wounds. Most Lions fans predicted a 6-11 or 7-10 season when the NFL head honchos released the schedule this year. The Lions are currently 4-7 with six games remaining; can they end the season on a high note?
The Lions are currently second in the NFC North, a conference that has been strange, to say the least. The Philadelphia Eagles went 8-0 and are now 10-1 heading into the business end of the regular season. Much fancied Green Bay Packers continue struggling for form, are one place below the Lions with a 4-8 record, and are essentially out of the race in the latest online Super Bowl betting markets. You then have the Chicago Bears (3-9) propping up the conference. The Lions play the struggling Packers and the Bears in the final two regular-season fixtures.
Something Clicked in Week 9
In his second season in charge, head coach Dan Campbell was left scratching his head and wondering what he and his team must do to come away with a victory. The Lions won 36-27 against the Washington Commanders on Week 2 but then went on a five-game losing streak and headed into November nursing a 1-6 record. However, some of those defeats were by narrow margins, so there were plenty of positives to take out of the games. The lions lost by three to the Eagles and Seattle Seahawks and by four to the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL’s surprise package, the Miami Dolphins.
Something clicked in Week 9 when the Lions hosted the Packers. The Lions went into halftime with an 8-0 lead and ultimately ran out 15-9 winners to improve to 2-6. The Lions forced three interceptions, including two in the endzone, and were worthy of the victory. Next was a trip to the famous Solider Field, where the Chicago Bears lay waiting. The Bears led 24-10 going into the fourth quarter. However, the Lions scored 21 unanswered points to lead 31-24. A 67-yard touchdown run from Bears’ quarterback Justin Fields made it 31-30, but the Bears missed the extra point, leaving the Lions to return home victoriously.
You could see the confidence soaring in the Lions’ camp when they faced the New York Giants in Week 11, and they came away with a deserved 31-18 victory. It then took a 45-yard field goal with only two seconds of play remaining for the Buffalo Bills to beat the Lions 28-25 in an exciting Thanksgiving Day game.
An Easy Run-In, if Such Things Exist
The Lions’ run-in for the last six games of the 2022 regular season has mostly winnable fixtures. They next face the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) before hosting the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) at Ford Field. Trips to the New York Jets (7-4) and Carolina Panthers (4-8) round out December before the Chicago Bears (3-9) await on New Year’s Day. The Lions head to the Green Bay Packers (4-8) Lambeau Field on the final regular season game.
Of those remaining fixtures, one would imagine only the Vikings would come away with the victory. That would mean the Lions ending the regular season campaign with a 9-8 record, a vast improvement on last year’s 3-13-1. Would a 9-8 record be enough to see the Lions return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016? It could well be. Go Lions!