Can The Detroit Lions Win The NFC North?
Remember when the Detroit Lions started the season 1-3? Remember when we all thought it was going to be another year of SOL (same ole’ Lions) like it was last year following the 11-5 season in 2014? Remember when things were so bad that Jim Caldwell had to plead for “a little decorum”?
After the abysmal 1-3 start, the Lions have responded by going 8-1 to claim a 2 game lead in the NFC North and giving the deserving fan base something to cheer for as well as permission to feel proud to don their blue and white in support of the team.
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The final quarter of the year started with the Lions at home against the dilapidated Chicago Bears with a nail biting 20-17 win and another miraculous Stafford-led come from behind win in the fourth quarter.
From here, the Lions move into a difficult three game stretch against the New York Giants (9-4) the Dallas Cowboys (11-2) and closing out their season at home against the unflappable Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (7-6).
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No matter how you look at it, that is an intimidating schedule including this weeks’ match up with the Giants after a Sunday Night Snorefest win against the Dallas Cowboys.
Back to back games on the road against the Giants and the Cowboys is not the same as it was last year when the teams combined for 10 total wins. Both the Giants and Cowboys have winning records going into the last quarter of the season and show no signs of slowing down.
The final game of the season is a home game against the Packers which, depending on how the Lions and Packers play in the preceding three weeks, could be a battle for the division title.
The biggest advantage the Detroit Lions have is that they are currently ahead two games meaning the Lions must finish 1-2 or worse to allow the Packers or Vikings to have a shot plus they play each other in week 16 meaning there is no way both teams could finish the season undefeated.
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Looking at the Vikings’ matchup last week against the Jags, the final score 25-16 might look good, but the fails to show how the Vikings trailed for a good portion of that game. While their defense continues to stop opposing offenses, their offense still has trouble putting of numbers.
The Packers have the exact opposite problem, ranking 11th in total offense but also allowing the 10th most points per game at 25.2 points. While their week 14 win against the Seahawks was dominating, questions still remain whether or not Green Bay can continue a balanced attack going forward.
Detroit must win at least 1 of their final 3 games in order to solidify their place at the top of the division, something they have not done since 1993 in the NFC Central, before the divisions were restructured and they became part of the NFC North.
While the last four games may be intimidating, the Lions have never had a better shot to do so than they have right now.
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