tThe Detroit Lions, still only a . 500 team at 7-7, have absolutely no chance of making the NFL playoffs impressive, their coach might say. They opened with six losses in seven games. And they’re still like the Detroit Lions: historically the saddest sack team.
Since their last playoff win, on January 5, 1992, at home against the Dallas Cowboys, the Lions have made eight playoff appearances and lost all of them. They haven’t even appeared in the playoffs since January 7, 2017, when they lost a game in Seattle.
Less than two years ago, they traded their tough quarterback, Matthew Stafford, to the Los Angeles Rams… and Stafford, of course, helped the Rams win Super Bowl LVI. Meanwhile, the Lions lost their first eight matches last year and posted a negative 3-13-1. Some people wrote that they had a good chance of finishing with the first 0-17 record in NFL history.
But look again! The Lions can’t win the NFC North this year; Minnesota (11-3) has sealed it. After a 20-17 come-from-behind win Sunday on the road over the crumbling New York Jets, though, the Lions stand between a 34% and 43% chance of making the playoffs, according to numbers experts. Before Sunday, their chances were only half that.
According to New York Times and FiveThirtyEight forecasters, Detroit, who is ninth in the NFC standings, has a 96% chance of making the playoffs by winning their last three games. So the Lions will need help overcoming the leaders (7-6-1) and Seahawks (7-7) to reach the championship.
(The Seahawks defeated the Lions in a fierce head-to-head battle on Oct. 2, 48-45. Washington and Detroit are unlikely to finish with the same record, given the leaders are tied, but Detroit won their head-to-head game on Sept. 18, 38-27.)
Even the 34% to 43% chance is much better than the 0% chance that the defending Super Bowl Rams have, without an injury to Stafford for the rest of the season, after Monday’s loss to the Packers. It’s great for the Lions, a team that has had five winning seasons since 2000.
Most of the credit, as it should, went to supercoach, 46-year-old sophomore Dan Campbell, a Texan who opened his tenure by promising that the Lions might get a downside sometimes, but they’d be sure to “bite the kneecap” when getting up.
A little bite was needed since Oct 30th. Lions believe in themselves. The Lions took a late lead against the Jets on a 51-yard touchdown pass — on fourth-and-1 — from Jared Goff (QB traded for Stafford) to wide-open tight end Brock Wright, who had downed a pass earlier in the drive. discs.
Equally impressive, the Lions defense played “very good ding,” Campbell later put it, sacking New York quarterback Zack Wilson for an 8-yard loss on the Jets’ final drive, which ended in a missed 58-yard field. Goal. The Jets had lost two goals in a row and were desperate for this game as well. Their chances of making the playoffs dipped into the low twenties.
In a post-match news conference, Gauff said, “You’d rather win bogey than lose pretty. There were times earlier in the year where we were winning pretty in certain situations and then we let it get away from us at the end, and I think that totally flipped into what We’re getting into it now.We’ve won some games recently with ease, but we’ve also won some close games, won some close games and had to fold and had to fight our way at the end.
“Are you going our way, or are we playing? I tend to play, whether it’s a sack on the last drive, or just things we’ve done up front, we’re starting to learn how to win and how to consistently win close games in tough environments. And yeah, it’s a team.” Good and mature now.”
Goff, 28, a former California quarterback selected by the Rams with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw for 252 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. Nothing amazing. Among NFL quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 2,000 yards this year, he remains only ninth in passer rating, with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
At least he’s playing, which is more than the second-choice quarterback in the 2016 draft, arguably Carson Wentz. Wentz, on his third NFL team, lost his first job with the Captains when he broke his finger in October. Wentz is healthy but hasn’t played since.
Detroit now faces Carolina, Chicago and Green Bay – three teams with losing records. This may seem a long way off, but the Lions still have a chance to play in their first Super Bowl. (Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Houston are the other NFL teams, but the Lions have been around since 1930.)
As it stands now, the Vikings (11-3) will be the wild-card playoff contenders if they press with the seventh and final NFC seed. Before making history with Saturday’s 39-36 overtime win over Indianapolis, Minnesota lost to Detroit, 34-23.
That was the game in which the Lions sealed the win with a bold completion of the third from Goff to 335-pound offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who reported as an eligible receiver. Campbell would later say he couldn’t hear the play, because the 66,374 fans at Ford Field were distracting him—and apparently the Vikings—by doing the wave.
Campbell was asked on Sunday how he feels at 7-7 after starting 1-6. It’s a difficult question to answer, he said, “because you know you’re going to be better.”
Campbell will add: “You just don’t know how you’re going to get there or what it’s going to be. You know, if you start playing better football you can get some wins in a row. I think that’s the best way to say it. I didn’t know what it was going to look like or How it’s going to be, but that’s kind of the idea.You start playing very good football and shake two or three times in a row.
“If that’s good enough to participate, great,” he said of the playoffs. “If not, it won’t work.”
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