The 5-2 Detroit Lions are primed for a push into the NFL playoffs. After a serious setback at the claws of the Baltimore Ravens, the Lions path to the playoffs remains wide open, starting with a primetime clash with the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.
Overcoming the Ravens’ Roadblock
“Obviously, this wasn’t one of our better games, admitted Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. “What we did do is look at it, see how we could all get better and move forward from it. Alright, because we have a good team coming in our house before our bye and we’ve got to do a good job against this team.”
While the 38-6 loss against Baltimore was a bruise to their record, the Lions have demonstrated resilience throughout the season. Most NFL experts and analysts rank them among the NFL’s top ten teams, indicating their potential hasn’t peaked.
Navigating the Road Ahead
Monday Night Football presents a chance for redemption against the Las Vegas Raiders. Even with the Raiders’ inconsistent play, they parade talents like WR Davante Adams, RB Josh Jacobs and DE Maxx Crosby. As Lions head coach Dan Campbell stated, “losing’s bad enough, but you better not waste it… the frustration and anger that I have, that motivates me…we will be ready for this game, we will be ready. We will physically, emotionally, we will be ready for this game.”
Following the Raiders game, the Lions’ bye week arrives at an opportune moment. Players like RB David Montgomery, LG Jonah Jackson and other key contributors have faced injuries. This break will allow vital recovery time as the Lions head into the second half of their season.
Week 10 presents another challenge as the Lions fly to Los Angeles to clash with Justin Herbert’s Chargers. They received a gift from the schedule makers as their only West Coast trip comes after a bye week, but the Chargers are no joke (regardless of their 2-4 record.) A potentially high-scoring game, it’s one that the Lions can win, especially after a rejuvenating bye week.
Divisional Dominance in Sight
The NFC North is experiencing turbulence, and the Detroit Lions have five more divisional games in front of them. The Minnesota Vikings, despite their recent victory over the 49ers, are acting historically unpredictable. The Chicago Bears, dealing with organizational chaos, have been boldly inconsistent. The Green Bay Packers were cheesed by the Lions 34-20 in week 4, setting the stage for a Ford Field feast on Thanksgiving.
The Path Forward: Lions in Control
Peering ahead, with teams like the inconsistent Saints and struggling Broncos on the roster, it’s conceivable that the Lions could secure 8 or 9 victories from their next 10 games. Such a performance would crown them kings of the NFC North with a commanding 13-14 wins. As the age-old NFL wisdom goes, any team can surprise on any given Sunday, but the Lions’ trajectory is pointing skyward.
Final words: The NFL is full of surprises, but the Lions’ potential is evident. Their challenge will be maintaining player health and capitalizing on the division’s current landscape.
Upcoming Lions Schedule:
- Week 8: vs Las Vegas Raiders (3-4)
- Week 9: Bye
- Week 10: at Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)
- Week 11: vs Chicago Bears (2-5)
- Week 12: vs Green Bay Packers (2-4) – Thanksgiving Day
- Week 13: at New Orleans Saints (3-4)
- Week 14: at Chicago Bears (2-5)
- Week 15: vs Denver Broncos (2-5)
- Week 16: at Minnesota Vikings (3-4)
- Week 17: at Dallas Cowboys (4-2)
- Week 18: vs Minnesota Vikings (3-4)
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Dan Powers, USA Today Network