Lions Are Playoff Material According to NFL Analyst

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford evades a Vikings tackle in 2018.

The Detroit Lions have enjoyed a decent 2-1-1 start to the 2019 NFL season, and even if things get a bit worse before they get better, some big days could be on the horizon in the near future for the team.

Answering questions from fans on Twitter, Dave Damishek of the NFL Network took some time out to touch on Detroit a bit, and the query that was posed was can the Lions crack the postseason for the first time since 2017? According to Damishek, that answer is yes, but under one condition.

Whether or not the Lions play into the postseason could be impacted by one NFC North tilt, and interestingly, Damishek does not think it is the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers, but rather their next contest against the Minnesota Vikings which will determine how far the team could go.

“If you can take down the Vikings at home, you might make the playoffs. Congratulations in advance,” he says.

Detroit sets out to do as well as possible against the NFC North head to head, of course, but it’s a spot on take that the Lions’ playoff hopes could rest on the Vikings game. If the Lions can’t beat Green Bay, the NFC North could turn into a runaway for the Packers. In that scenario, the Lions could be competing with the Vikings and others for a wild card birth, putting a premium on every win, especially in head to head games.

Minnesota is a hard team to get a grasp on in 2019, but they have been up and down, which could play into the notion that the Lions could give them a game at Ford Field.

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Lions No Pushovers in the North

While many might be tempted to think of the Lions as a classic loser in the division, it’s fair to remember that going back to 2014, the team has been very competitive against their usual foes. Matt Patricia lost every game to teams not named the Packers in 2018, but prior to that, the Lions have stood up against their competition. In total, since 2014, Detroit is 18-12 against their divisional opponents, which is a decent mark.

If the Lions can get things on track this season, they will have a chance to make those elite looking numbers show up again. It’s fair to remember that the Lions aren’t the same old guaranteed win they used to be for their divisional foes, even in seasons in which they have struggled otherwise. It’s why predicting them to do some big things is a safe bet.

Time to Make Some History?

The last time the Lions made the playoffs was in January of 2017 following a nice 2016 year. They were wiped out by the Seattle Seahawks on the road, but that chapter of Lions history now feels as if it was very long ago. Detroit came within an eyelash of contending for the postseason in 2017, but fell apart down the stretch despite a 9-7 finish.

If Detroit were to make the playoffs after this coming season, they would have a chance to win a playoff game for the first time since 1992. It’s safe to say that with Patricia at the helm, the team would have to feel very good about their chances of winning a game in such a scenario. It’s been just as long since the Lions have advanced to an NFC Championship game, and as most know, the team has never made a Super Bowl, with their last NFL championship coming in 1957.

There’s a long way to go before fans can even entertain these notions of grandeur for 2019, of course, but in order to have a chance, teams simply have to make the tournament. According to this analyst, that could be a good bet with one key win in the next two weeks.

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