NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
Sometimes, I just have a hard time dealing with the media coverage of the Detroit Lions.
From one perspective, the criticism of today’s win seems totally legit:
“The Lions’ sixth-ranked run defense got gashed for a season-high 201 yards.”
Sure…that seems bad at first glance.
“Playing a Browns team that has won one of its past 28 games, the Lions trudged through three quarters of play until a timely injury to quarterback DeShone Kizer and a couple big offensive plays gave them their two-touchdown victory.”
Right…that is technically correct.
“The Detroit Lions won big again Sunday, 38-24, over the Cleveland Browns for their fourth double-digit victory in nine games this year, but it’s impossible to walk away from the game feeling good about this team and its playoff chances.”
Respectfully, I completely disagree with this take…and I’ll tell you why.
You know what’s important in NFL football? Wins and Losses.
Regarding the Detroit Lions: I don’t care what the final score is. As long as the Lions are assigned the higher number of points at the end of the game.
This is the NFL. It’s not about rivalries. It’s not about the Mark Dantonio/James Franklin school of losing with dignity (read: kicking a meaningless field goal to make the scoreboard more palatable).
This is about wins and losses.
The Lions WON today. This win will get them closer to playing meaningful games at the end of the season and, for the love of all things holy, being in the hunt come the NFL Playoffs in January.
Look, I get it. It’s convenient to dissect the minutia regarding how many points the Cleveland Browns scored today.
Heads up: here is the only stat that matters in the world of professional American football:
“The Lions are tied for second in the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers team they beat six days ago…“
That’s right. End the sentence right there. The Lions are tied for 2nd place in the NFC North. Let’s not forget they are tied with a team that is without arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history (an argument for another blog post) due to injury. The time is now for Detroit.
This isn’t college football. This isn’t about putting up the most points in a blowout victory that will impress the computers. It’s not about whether or not your previous opponents did well enough to improve your strength of schedule.
This is about wins and losses.
The most important thing is that the Lions keep piling up the wins. If Detroit is able to win against the lowly Chicago Bears next week, this will set up an incredibly important and relevant Thanksgiving Day matchup.
Beat the incredibly annoying Vikings (and their ridiculously infuriating and unrealistic Viking horn) and everything is on the table for Detroit.
I don’t care HOW the Lions won the game today against the Browns. Detroit WON the game. That is all that matters.
Sure…we can complain about how the perennial cellar-dwelling Cleveland Browns were winning early on. We can wring our collective hands about how the run defense was gashed during the game. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is wins and losses — and the Lions won.
The reality is, the Detroit Lions have a franchise quarterback. The highest paid player in the league. His name is Matthew Stafford. Give him the time to throw the ball (as evidenced by his recent performance against the Green Bay Packers) and the Lions are in any game they play.
Just get the Lions in the playoffs.
That’s exactly what the schedule is set up to do. Do whatever it takes (within reason) to put up more points than the lowly Chicago Bears next week. That will set up a defining matchup with the Minnesota Vikings the on November 23rd.
You know what I say? BRING IT ON.
Bring on the Vikings.
Ask yourself this: Let’s assume the Lions defeat the Vikings on Thanksgiving Day. For the sake of argument, let’s say the Lions ride that victory into the playoffs where, in each game, 5-6 plays truly decide the difference between a win and a loss. Are you ready to bet against Matthew Stafford in that hypothetical situation?
At that hypothetical moment, no one will care about how many yards Detroit gave up to Cleveland.
All that matters is a W in the win column for the Lions en route to a meaningful postseason.
Let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.