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As the final gun sounded after the Lions epic comeback win against Dallas on Sunday at Ford Field you could feel like you had just witnessed something truly special. Sadly something that has rarely transpired in my lifetime of watching the Detroit Lions.
This was only one win, but sometimes one win can mean so much more. Aside from the glaring issues on defense that will have to be corrected if the Lions are going to be a serious postseason threat, what Sunday meant for a franchise that has so few signature moments in the last 50 years, is a game, a moment that can spring board a team to another level.
These are my top three reasons why one of the greatest regular season wins in Lions history is going to get this team to the playoffs.
3-SIGNATURE WIN– It might only be week 8, but that is about as big of a win as you can get when you’re a team fighting history. fighting disappointment, and trying to stem the tide of decades of frustration.
Yes there were issues all over defensively, and in many areas the Lions have to continue to work on. Bottom line, though, is to win a game like that the way they did to go 5-3 instead of 4-4 into the Bye week and have the second half schedule set up the way it does, it shows you that one win can change the direction of a season.
Look back at just the last 10 Super Bowl champs and each and every one of them had a win like the Lions had on Sunday. All the chips were on the table about to be raked away and somehow, someway, they were able to pull that third ace on the river at the poker table on a 1-outer to win the massive pot.
Now in no way am I saying because of the win over Dallas that I think the Lions are going to hoist the Lombardi trophy at Met-Life Stadium in February. The point is when you have similarities of the past several champions that is never a bad thing.
Last year, the Ravens had the epic week 3 win over the Pats 31-30 (does that score sound familiar?) that would have sent them to 1-2 and in a world of hurt early, instead they rolled off eight wins in their next nine games much like the Lions could with the way the schedule sets up. In 2010, the SB Champion Giants had a season saving win late against the Cowboys in Big D in week 14 37-34. the Giants don’t make that comeback down 12 with four minutes left on the road, they would not have even made the playoffs.
It goes on and on when it comes to Super Bowl Champions and season defining wins. That if for any other reason show a team they can beat anybody in any situation.
Teams need to have that in their belief system to make a run at the postseason and beyond and one win like Sunday against Dallas can do that.
2-SCHEDULE – What at one point during the summer looked like a somewhat tough second half schedule looks almost the opposite of it now. The reason I picked the Lions to go 11-5 right after training camp is cause I believed the Lions schedule set up nicely for them with their biggest games at home and road games that would definitely be winnable with the team the Lions had constructed. Now that schedule looks even easier – as teams like the Bucs and Eagles have been playing horrid football and the Giants and Steelers have not been much better.
The Lions remaining schedule is against teams that have a combined 20-38 record and includes a Monday Night home game against a Ravens team that in many ways is a shade of last years SB Champion team and that game could be for a playoff spot in front of a raucous Ford Field crowd.
The Lions have three games left against NFC North teams with the Bears and Vikes on the road and a huge T-Day home game against the Packers. If the Lions can win two of those they will be they would 4-2 in the division. If they win all three , the road game against Chicago will be tough but the Bears are not nearly as tough as their record shows and the D is way down, they would be 5-1 and have a great shot at winning the North.
1-MATT STAFFORD – I am going to say this as nicely as I can- I think it is time for the Stafford detractors to simply shut the hell up! I know Matt Stafford has his flaws at times like all QB’s -EVER, but if that gut-check-balls to-the-wall drive did not show you what kind of moxie, belief, and ability Stafford has, maybe you just shouldn’t watch football anymore.
Stafford is off to the best start through eight games in his young career and is showing week in and week out why he gives the Lions the best chance at his position to have postseason success since Bobby Layne. I know there isn’t a great lineage of Lions QB’s to point to, but that doesn’t matter as the Lions have a guy NOW in Stafford that is on the edge of being elite and can reach that level if he keeps his play of 2013 up and wins a playoff game.
The final drive against Dallas, much like the drive in 2009 against Cleveland, show why Stafford has what it takes to not only lead this team to victory, but in many ways to will it just by himself. That is the mark of not a good, but a great quarterback and one that whenever he is behind center gives his team a great chance to win and like Sunday, the ability to do something truly special.
Just watch the video above and you tell me this kid does not give the Lions the best chance to win at his position in many of your lifetimes!