TV5's Jason Fielder on Detroit Lions' playoff chances
By Jason Fielder, TV5 Sports Reporter - bio | email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
It's time Lions fans get this in their heads…THE DETROIT LIONS WILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!
I am not jumping off the franchise bandwagon, as I still think Detroit will finish 10-6, and they will make the playoffs in 2012.
But it's not going to happen this season.
There are 2 big reasons behind this: 1) injuries are hurting the offense. 2) Other NFC teams are too good (namely Green Bay & Chicago).
Detroit has lost 3 of its last 4 games (the lone win came against the somewhat pathetic Denver Broncos). In those losses, there have been common themes: Detroit has scored in the teens: 19, 16, and 13 points. Detroit has been outrushed, running for 66, 104, and 80 yards, while allowing 203, 129, and 109 rush yards. Jahvid Best was hurt in the San Francisco game and has been out ever since (and no one knows when he will be cleared to play again). His absence is the #1 reason why they haven't had as much success running the ball, but they also miss his pass-catching ability, and his ability to break off a big run/reception any time he touches the ball.
Halfway through the season, it's apparent they also could use the services of 2011 2nd round draft pick Mikel LeShoure (RB), who has missed the entire season with an injury suffered in training camp. The lack of a consistent running game and big play threat opposite Calvin Johnson is killing this team on offense.
Now, when I say the other NFC teams are too good, I mean this: Green Bay will likely win the division, finishing with 13-14 wins. Chicago will be right behind, with 11-12 wins. New Orleans, San Francisco, and Dallas will win their divisions, leaving one playoff spot open for 3 teams: the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions. Right now, the Giants and Lions are 6-3, while the Falcons are 5-4. The record of New York's remaining opponents is 37-27 (Phi, NO, GB, Dal, Was, NYJ, Dal), Atlanta's is 30-35 (Ten, Min, Hou, Car, Jax, NO, Tam), and Detroit's is 38-26 (Car, GB, NO, Min, Oak, SD, GB). I predict the Falcons and Lions will both finish 10-6, and due to Atlanta's head-to-head victory over Detroit, the Falcons will earn the final playoff spot in the NFC.
After finishing 0-16 in 2008, 2-14 in 2009, and 6-10 in 2010, finishing 10-6 in 2011 is something to be proud of. With another great draft in 2012, and the addition of a few more solid free agents, Detroit will make the playoffs in 2012.
Copyright WNEM 2011. All rights reserved.
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