The Detroit Lions earned their way back above the .500 mark with their 38-24 win over the Browns this past Sunday. They are still two games back in the NFC North, so every game is increasingly important if they are going to make a push for the postseason. Here are the next five teams the Lions will face as well as the biggest stories coming out of their locker rooms.
WEEK 11 – at Chicago Bears (3-6), Soldier Field
The Bears can’t get out of their own way. They could easily be tied with Detroit and Green Bay at 5-4 if not for some bad mistakes and dropped passes late in close games earlier this season. This last week, head coach John Fox challenged a play in the second quarter a seven-point game against Green Bay when Benny Cunningham was ruled out at the three-yard line. Everyone in Chicago knew he was out, but Fox challenged it anyway. Upon further review, it turns out that Cunningham actually fumbled the ball through the end zone before going out of bounds. That means Fox’s challenge cost his own team the ball when they were two years away from a touchdown. Here is the explanation:
They ended up losing 23-16. Only in Chicago. The coaching seat is getting very hot underneath Fox. We’ll see if his team plays for his job, or lets him stew.
WEEK 12 – vs. Minnesota Vikings (7-2), Ford Field, Thanksgiving
The Vikings are rolling. They won a fifth straight game Sunday topping Washington on the road 38-30. Their last loss? Week 3 against the Lions. Minnesota’s scoring has improved in every game since then. After getting held to just seven points by Detroit, they have scored 20, 23, 24, 33, and 38 in each successive game. Teddy Bridgewater was taken off the injured reserve last week, and there was some thought that he might unseat starter Case Keenum, but coach Mike Zimmer is sticking with the hot hand when the Vikes host the 7-2 Rams on Sunday.
WEEK 13 – at Baltimore Ravens (4-5), M & T Bank Stadium
The Ravens are reeling. After starting the season with back-to-back wins, Baltimore has lost three of their last four, and five of their last seven. They had a bye this past weekend and sued it to get healthy. Jeremy Maclin, Danny Woodhead, and Michael Campanaro are all practicing and could give the Ravens a boost when they travel to Green Bay this weekend.
WEEK 14 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6), Raymond James Stadium
The Buccaneers got off the schneid with a 15-10 win over the Jets on Sunday. That ended Tampa Bay’s losing streak at five games. Ryan Fitzpatrick filled in for the injured Jameis Winston. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. The Buccaneers defense led the way with six sacks after having only a total of three through the first eight games. The team is sitting Winston at least one more week, so Fitzpatrick gets the call again this weekend against cross-state rival Miami.
WEEK 15 – vs. Bears (3-6), Ford Field, Saturday
The return engagement with the Bears could be an interesting one. The biggest question will be if rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has settled in under center, or if he is so beaten up that he regresses. If that happens, who knows if John Fox will still be coaching the Bears by the time this game rolls around.