Let me throw you a curve ball today.
The Detroit Lions are no longer chasing the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2), who own the number one seed in the NFC.
The Lions (9-3) are chasing the San Francisco 49ers (9-3), who are the best team in the NFC.
Did you see the 42-19 dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday? The Niners come at you in waves with George Kittle, Debo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams, and Brandon Aiyuk. That is a team the Lions cannot touch during a do-or-die playoff game. Or when the Niners are healthy.
You may not be OK with that, but you must understand why this is the case. San Francisco has been building toward greatness for decades. For the Lions, it is a three-year process.
Three years ago, the Lions finally became a real organization when they brought in Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. I never figured the Lions would be kings of the hill on their first try. The Niners have it figured out.
Their defense is better. They have more weapons, and they did not panic after their three-game losing streak, which happens to the best of teams. The 49ers shrugged off all the noise and maintained their poise. They simply healed nagging wounds and realized they are the best team in the NFC when completely healthy.
They amassed 456 yards against the Eagles, who own a defense the Lions wish they had.
“That’s a tough team to tackle,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said.
The Niners do not have a running quarterback in Brock Purdy that gives the Lions fits. But they have everything else. San Francisco does not need a quarterback to win, although Purdy is growing on me.
What do we have in the Lions? It’s a damn good team, but it is one where its flaws become more glaring by the week. The Lions have scared the bejabbers out of their fan base the last four weeks. But guess what? They are 3-1 in that stretch, a sign that this team has arrived.
“We’ve got a special group,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. “I think that’s the best way to put it. Dan talks about it all the time. When the pressure goes up, who calms down and is level? Our guys really are.”
The Lions can calm down and impose their will on just about every team in the league. There is one that is the outlier.
That’s the San Francisco 49ers.
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
Original Photo Credit: © Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports