The Detroit Lions collapsed again and lost to the Minnesota Vikings 19-17 by virtue of a long field goal, and the defeat likely left plenty of fans of the 0-5 team even more hopeless given how it played out.
Detroit momentarily looked to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for once, pouncing on a surprise fumble and managing to score a touchdown late while hitting on a two point conversion to put them ahead. The team battled once more, but fell short defensively after a few long passes which led to a 54 yard field goal defeating the Lions as time expired.
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While fans might be lacking all hope at the moment and the head coach could be emotionally spent, NFL Network reporter and NFL.com writer Michael Silver is here to remind everyone that things could always be worse. Silver tweeted his believe that the Lions are showing real progress after the loss, unlike the other team in the league that ended up 0-5 after Sunday in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Though the Lions have lost, all but one of those defeats have been by 10 points or less, showcasing the fight they’ve shown that many folks have noticed. By contrast, the Jaguars have been blown out multiple times, losing three of their first five games by over 12 points.
The way a team loses can often matter. Outside perception is the Lions are getting closer to tasting success, while the Jaguars are going to further spiral out of control.
Comparing Remaining Schedules of Lions, Jaguars
Which team has the better chance at the worst record in the league between the Lions and Jaguars? That’s a hard question to answer considering the fact that the Lions play a difficult schedule and have many roster limitations. Even in spite of that, the team has consistently played hard for Dan Campbell, and there isn’t any dysfunction to speak of in the locker room. That could be different for Jacksonville, who has had to endure the Urban Meyer scandal early on and could have a skeptical locker room as a result of that.
Detroit has one more game remaining with their NFC North foes, plus dates with Cincinnati, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Denver and Atlanta. Most all of those teams are solid, so finding wins will take major amounts of grit in 2021. Jacksonville, by contrast, has tough games remaining against Buffalo, San Francisco, the Los Angeles Rams, New England and Seattle. They play a couple teams that could be trending toward being bad as well in Houston and the New York Jets, so finding a few more wins could be easier than Detroit if the roster hasn’t given up.
Lions Were Called Offseason Favorites for Top Draft Pick
After watching the first few weeks of the season play out, it might not be crazy to think the Lions are primed for a top pick this year. With news back in March of the Lions letting one of their bigger stars in Kenny Golladay walk to free agency as well as trading quarterback Matthew Stafford, folks were beginning to feel as if the team has been downright punting on future seasons in order to set up a potential tank for a top pick. While the team isn’t tanking the season, they’re not winning, either.
One analyst went so far as to make a very bold proclamation about the Lions months ago. As Kevin Patra said on Twitter, he believes the team should be considered frontrunners for the first overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
If this plays out, it should be music to ears of fans in Detroit. The Lions clearly have a lot of needs as 2021 has shown, and have plenty of picks coming down the pipe after the Stafford mega-deal with the Rams. Detroit could be set up to own the next few drafts, and if they had the top pick in 2022, it could only work to accelerate the rebuild in a major way. It will be fascinating to see if the Lions are worse than the likes of the Jets, Texans, and Jaguars the rest of the way.
The Lions might have competition for the top pick, but they might not even be as bad as the Jaguars right now. Whether that proves true by the end of the season remains to be seen.