The Detroit Lions want to get back into the playoffs during the 2020 season, and recently, they haven’t had an easy job winning while getting there.
One of the biggest reasons for that is probably the fact that the Lions cannot win their own division or be in position to host a playoff game. Right now, the Lions are tied for having the longest streak of not winning their division since the league’s re-alignment in 2002. The other teams joining them with regards to this futility? The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.
An interesting #NFL tidbit: Since the current divisional alignment took effect in 2002, three teams have not won a division title – the #Lions in the NFC North, the #Bills in the AFC East, and the #Browns in the AFC North.
— Ron Clements (@Ron_Clements) July 16, 2020
Detroit’s streak can extend even further back than 2002. 9 years to be exact, considering the last time the team had a division title of any kind was in 1993 when they won the NFC Central. The Lions have only 4 division titles of any kind to their credit historically, so if they were ever able to win the NFC North, it would be a ground breaking accomplishment.
This has to be tops on the team’s list for the future if they want to turn the page from their classic struggles.
Lions Hyped as Potential NFC North Winner in 2020
As Pro Football Focus analyst George Chahrouri explained, the reason for this proclamation has everything to do with the division in which they play. It might not be so much the Lions but the fact that the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears won’t be as dangerous in 2020.
Who is your NFL sleeper team in 2020? pic.twitter.com/39I7SE8zGE
— PFF (@PFF) June 11, 2020
“You have the Packers who’s record was better than they actually were last season and added nothing this offseason. The Vikings who got rid of Stefon Diggs and have a ton of rookies that need to get acclimated. The Bears are starting Nick Foles at quarterback. If you’re telling me that division is not wide open, you’re crazy,” he said. “They get Matthew Stafford back who was top 3 in terms of positively graded pros last year until he went down. They should have beat the Chiefs if it weren’t for this fumble 6 they had. They do get back a great quarterback in Matthew Stafford. They can win that division.”
More than all of that, the Lions were close in nearly every game head to head against the division last year even without Stafford. They sustained some narrow losses to the Packers after leading nearly the whole game, and came within a few plays of beating the Bears a pair of times and the Vikings at home. The road loss to Minnesota wasn’t as big of a blowout as it could have been, either.
If the Lions are to contend, they will have to go through the NFC North with more success than they have the last few seasons. 2019 showed that even as miserable as the team may have been, there is still a chance at them doing just that in the minds of many.
Lions Playoff Drought
Detroit’s playoff history has been miserable. Strangely enough, however, the team doesn’ have the longest current drought in the league in terms of a playoff win. That belongs to the Cincinnati Bengals, who haven’t won a playoff game since 1990. The Lions last playoff win came in 1991 against the Dallas Cowboys at home.
Longest draught since a team's last playoff win:
1. Bengals: 1990 Wild Card
2. Lions: 1991 Divisional
3. Browns: 1994 Wild Card
4. Bills: 1995 Wild Card
An opportunity for the Bills to take another step forward today.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 4, 2020
Obviously, the Buffalo Bills are one of the next teams on the list, and in terms of this group, they are the squad that looks like they can break through and do the biggest amounts of winning in the future.
Detroit still has a ways to go, but the good news is, they don’t have the worst playoff win drought at the very least.
Lions Playoff History
The Lions have been one of the more miserable teams historically when it comes to the playoffs. Detroit, as the tweet points out, hasn’t won since 1991. It’s not just 1991, however. Prior to that win, the Lions hadn’t won a playoff game since 1957. They had lost three times combined in the 1970s and 1980s. They’ve had plenty of misfortune in the playoffs as well, losing games in heartbreaking fashion and blowout fashion as well.
Detroit last appeared in the playoffs in 2018, but quickly bowed out, losing to the Seattle Seahawks in close fashion. They haven’t been consistent enough through the years at both making the playoffs and also winning when they do manage to get there.
With Matt Patricia in the fold, the goal is to get to be a team that not only makes the playoffs consistently, but is able to deliver big wins when they get there.
That might only happen if the team is able to first shatter some negative history and win the NFC North.