By: Will Burchfield
The Lions have a positive point differential at home this season, where, strangely, they’ve won just one game out of four.
With four games remaining at Ford Field, including a potentially huge one versus the Vikings on Thanksgiving, they need to be better on their own turf.
“We’d like to get that corrected,” said Jim Caldwell. “The reason why (we’re 1-3 at home) is because we haven’t played well. You don’t play well, you’re going to get beat no matter where you are, parking lot or next door or down the road or in your stadium or someone else’s.
“You don’t play well, you’re going to get beat in this league, and we haven’t played well enough at home.”
It’s not as if they’ve played poorly. The Lions are averaging 28.8 points per game at home and surrendering 25. But they’ve lost three games by a total of 12 points, lacking some of the late-game magic they conjured up at Ford Field last season.
Failed comeback attempts versus the Falcons (Week 3), the Panthers (Week 5) and the Steelers (Week 8) represent the danger of playing from behind.
Still, at 4-4 and with a cushy schedule ahead, the Lions are in a good spot. The best team they’ll see in their final eight games is the one they’re chasing in the division. And Detroit already beat Minnesota on the road in Week 4.
The Lions remaining opponents — a list that includes the 0-8 Browns, the 2-6 Buccs and the 3-5 Bears (twice) — are a combined 10 games under .500. By almost any measure, Detroit has one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NFL.
Just don’t try that on Caldwell.
“I don’t buy into that,” he said. “Every game is hard to win in this league and every team has talent and ability. For us, it’s just one game at a time and try to make sure we prepare well. That’s the key.”
After Monday night’s 30-17 win over the Packers at Lambeau Field, the Lions are now 2-0 in the NFC North, with three home games remaining against divisional opponents. Surely, that has to be encouraging.
“What’s encouraging is how we played last night,” said Caldwell. “Beyond that it’s just a matter of making certain that we keep our focus narrow. We can have 360-degree awareness, but 180-degree focus in terms of what’s ahead of us. That’s kind of where we are.”
Caldwell has always preached a one-game-at-a-time mantra, so it comes naturally to him. It can be a bit harder to keep some of the Lions’ less experienced players in the same frame of mind.
“I think most of our guys here understand that. A lot of the younger guys probably don’t, but that’s why we have to indoctrinate them,” Caldwell said.
With eight games to go, the Lions’ destiny is in their own hands. They’ve done their job on the road. Now it’s time to take control at home.