By Chris Morgan
It has been an up and down start to the season for the Detroit Lions. They’ve had injuries and have suffered a couple of losses, mostly due to special teams. But despite all that, they are currently at .500 with a 4-4 record after playing half of their games. That certainly leaves them in the thick of the playoff race, although the NFC is clearly the tougher conference this season. So naturally, many Lions fans are probably wondering how their team will do the rest of the way. Might they make the playoffs? Will they at least have a winning record, which is easier to predict, since whoever makes the playoffs is contingent on how a lot of other teams do? While things can always change going forward, with at least eight games in the books for every team, here are predictions for how Detroit will do the rest of the season.
Week 10: Minnesota Vikings
This week, the Lions have to visit the Minnesota Vikings. Earlier this season, Detroit lost at home to Minnesota, but that was an odd game. While the score was 20-13, the Lions did not let up a defensive touchdown. The Vikings, and Christian Ponder in particular, have come back to earth a bit since then, but this game is in the Metrodome. If it was Ford Field, a Lions win would feel likely, but on the road, this seems like a loss.
Week 11: Green Bay Packers
In week 11, the Lions get to host Green Bay. The Packers’ record isn’t stellar, but that includes that Seahawks loss, and they are just as banged up as Detroit. That being said, they are still a top notch team, and they still have Aaron Rodgers under center. Even at home, it’s hard to take the Lions to win.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Classic: Houston Texans
Then it’s time for the Thanksgiving Day Classic. Unfortunately, the Lions are playing the Houston Texans. The Texans have lost once this season, and they’re arguably the best team in the AFC, even after losing Brian Cushing. It’d be nice for the Lions to win on Thanksgiving for once, but it doesn’t seem likely this year. That would leave the Lions 4-7 and on a three-game losing streak.
Week 13: Indianapolis Colts
Fortunately, in week 13 the Lions stay at home, and they get to host the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, the Colts have been a surprise, and they may even make the playoffs. Sure, Andrew Luck has impressed as a rookie. However, they still don’t have that much talent, they may have been a bit fortuitous thus far, and four of their five wins have been at home. This game seems much tougher than it did when the schedule initially came out, but the Lions should still finally get a win to move to 5-7.
Week 14: Green Bay Packers
Of course, that is followed by a trip to Lambeau Field in week 14. There’s no reason to get any deeper into this game. It’s going to be a Lions loss. That would be their eighth loss, pretty much eliminating them from the postseason.
Week 15: Arizona Cardinals
Then, the Lions head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Arizona, as many expected, has fallen apart after a strong start. They have a good defense, but nothing on offense, and their offensive line is atrocious. Even on the road, the Lions should win.
Week 16: Atlanta Falcons
Then, the Lions end the season with a tough duo at home. First, the Lions face the Atlanta Falcons on a Saturday in primetime. The Falcons are the only undefeated team left in the league. Now, that doesn’t mean they are the league’s best team, but they are obviously quite good, and a tough team to beat. Detroit will likely lose this one.
Week 17: Chicago Bears
Finally, they end the season at home against the Bears. Earlier this season, on Monday Night Football, the Bears eked out a 13-7 win. Detroit should play them tough, but the Bears are a better team. It’s hard to predict a win.
If the season plays out like this, that would leave the Lions with a 6-10 record, which would be a disappointment, especially considering their 4-4 start. Detroit will come to regret their losses to the Vikings and, particularly the Titans earlier this season. Now, some of these losses could potentially be wins. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising for the Lions to beat the Vikings or Bears, and maybe even the Falcons and Packers at home. Hey, it’s the NFL; maybe they’ll even beat the Texans. Of course, on the flip side of that coin, they could also lose to the Colts. Nevertheless, as of right now, predicting the playoffs or even a winning record for the Lions seems like a foolish proposition.
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Chris has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com.