Heading into Week 11 of the regular season, the future looked bright for the Detroit Lions and their playoff hopes. The Lions had just completed a season sweep of the Chicago Bears and were in first place in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers had just lost QB Aaron Rodgers to a broken collar bone while the Minnesota Vikings were flailing without a viable starter at quarterback. The division title was within reach for the Detroit Lions.
While success was just within reach, it seems as if the spirits of past failed Detroit teams have been summoned to haunt this current 2013 roster. The Lions have failed to take care of business in recent weeks and have now watched their first place standing slip away and now sit in third with a 7-7 record behind the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, a team which could see Aaron Rodgers return to the lineup this week.
With last night’s defeat, Detroit has now dropped four of their last five games and their play on the field does not resemble that of a well coached or disciplined team. The Lions have at least three turnovers in each of their last five games. Detroit has been flagged 35 times in that span.
QB Matthew Stafford, who received a contract extension earlier this year, has been a turnover machine during that period. Stafford has tossed 10 interceptions to just nine touchdowns in the last five games. When Stafford isn’t throwing interceptions, his receivers have been having a hard time holding on to the ball, as the Lions lead the NFL with 44 dropped passes this season. Calvin Johnson added two more last night, giving him a career high nine on the year.
Detroit might win out their games for the remainder of the season while facing the New York Giants and finishing the season at Minnesota. However, it might be a little to late for post season hope for the Lions. Detroit is not out of the race by any stretch but they no longer control their own destiny, they have to win out and hope for a series of events to unfold in order to get help. The possible return of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers lineup does not help matters.
Even if they manage to reach the playoffs, the Lions cannot figure to go deep into the tournament with the current level of play they are executing on the field.
It was fun while it lasted.