The Detroit Lions may have saved their 2020 fortunes with a thrilling last second win in the desert, and if that ends up being the case, their schedule could play a role in why.
From Week 4 on, the Detroit schedule takes a very positive turn after a difficult start. Detroit will play the 1-2 New Orleans Saints who have plenty of their own injury problems in Week 4. Then, the Lions get their early bye week to nurse their wounds and try to heal some of their bumps and bruises. Following that, Detroit plays the Jaguars, Falcons and Colts, Vikings, Washington, the Panthers and Texans.
The total record of those teams? At this point, it’s a pretty appetizing 6-18.
The Lions, of course, are 1-2 themselves, so teams are likely looking at them and thinking they managed to get on the right side of a soft schedule. Additionally, some of those teams could turn their seasons around before it’s too late. Still, if the Lions can grab some momentum from their Week 3 win and maximize it, it would help them perhaps get things back on the right track.
Detroit’s schedule, however, was long seen as fairly soft. So far, that’s proven true, which could set the team up for a chance at a major run in the coming weeks if only they can put everything together
Jeff Okudah: Lions Defense Sick of Being Disrespected
Coming into Week 3, the team knew they had to step up in a big way, and according to Jeff Okudah, the team heard all the trash talk, were sick of hearing the negativity and wanted to make sure they put an end to it with a solid performance on the field.
After the win played out, safety Tracy Walker hopped on Twitter and said that he hopes the Detroit detractors keep the same energy, because the team feeds off of it.
Detroit’s defense struggled badly in Week 2, and in Week 1, they folded in the second half. It was a big change in Week 3, however, with major plays helping to drive Detroit’s major last second win to help save the season for the moment. Detroit only allowed 377 yards to a tough offense and 109 rushing yards while grabbing 3 interceptions.
If the team’s defense takes the rest of their games personally in such a way, that might help them turn things around.
Matt Patricia Explains Lions Winning Mindset
In order to pull off the win, Matt Patricia believes the Lions were simply able to better stay in the moment and not let the outside negativity get to them. Speaking with Sports Illustrated writer Albert Breer for his Monday Morning Quarterback piece, Patricia admitted to having pride in his team’s ability not to let the past plague them in a key game.
“Matt Patricia was pretty aware of the fact that the old narratives were being fed going into this week—The Lions blew a big lead in the opener against the Bears, then went up 14-3 before being blown off the field in Green Bay, and that meant that the ghosts of Detroit’s NFL past were going to be resurrected ahead of his team’s trip to Arizona.
“In Detroit, that’s something that we deal with, that we battle, that sort of, ‘Here we go again’ mentality,” Patricia said to me, from the team hotel postgame. “We talked about it this week. … What I said is we’ve got to stay in the moment. We can’t make the moment bigger than it is. Because if you do that, then it’s almost like it becomes too much for you to handle. It becomes bigger than what it actually is. And all it actually is, is the next play.
“That’s all it is. We’ve just got to do a great job on that play, we’ve got to stay in the moment and do a great job of doing our job on that play and not tying in everything else to it.”
The Lions didn’t let a few poor plays in key moments doom them this week, and perhaps that’s the best sign that their dagger time mantra finally paid off in a big way. The challenge now will be finding a way to get on a winning streak and make sure the momentum is not lost.
Patricia would likely say that if his team can stick in the moment, they will be alright into the future even in spite of their early struggles. The schedule might only help this to be more of the case.