Lions are pretenders in a jungle full of contenders

With the Lions in contention to win the National Football Conference (NFC) North division many Lions fans are excited by the fact the Lions might make the playoffs and host a playoff game at home at Ford Field. However, even though the Lions have a chance at being in the playoffs it is clear by their play thus far this year they are not a playoff team.

The fact that the Lions have yet to clinch the division is a very scary thought seeing that the rest of the division average at best. Along with the Lions the NFC north division consists of the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. The Minnesota Vikings currently have four wins, nine losses and one tie and they also have the fourth worst record in the NFC. Along with a poor overall record, the Vikings rank 22nd in passing yards a game with an average of 214.8 yards per game (ypg) and they have the 30th rank pass defense allowing the opposing team to throw for 282.5 (ypg).

The Green Bay Packers have seven wins, seven losses and one tie but they have been playing without their starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers for six and half games. Rodgers has been a former recipient of the Most Valuable Player Award and frankly ever since he got hurt with a broken collar bone the Packers offense has not had the same dynamic and scoring ability.The Packers are also horrible on defense as well. The Packers rush defense is ranked 25th in the league and their pass defense is ranked 21st in the league.

Like the Packers, the Chicago Bears have also had to start their backup quarterback because their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, has been in and out of the starting lineup with a nagging groin and ankle injuries. Along with an injured quarterback, the Bears have not been spectacular on either side of the ball especially when it comes to rushing. They rank 18th in rushing yards with 112.8 (ypg) and they give up an average of 157.0 rushing (ypg) which is dead last in the NFL. Seeing that the Vikings are horrible, the Packers are very limited on offense without Rodgers and have a defense that can’t stop anybody, and the Bears are struggling to run the ball and stop the run, it is a scary thought that the Lions are not running away with this division being as bad as it is.

“I’m really disappointed the Lions might not make the playoffs this year,” said Senior Blair Subbaraman. “It was the perfect opportunity because the division was really weak and both Rodgers and Cutler were hurt.”

Another reason why the Lions are not a playoff caliber team is based on how they have done against their competition. The Lions have not beaten the teams they have should have beaten. The Lions record against teams with a record below .500 is 3-3. However the Lions have also proved they can’t beat quality teams consistently. When the Lions have faced teams that have a team with a record of .500 or better their record is 4-4 with two of those wins coming against Chicago. It is also worth mentioning out of the teams with records above .500 three of those teams are projected to be in the playoffs or are a game out of being projected to be in the playoffs.

“They just can’t seem to win against good teams consistently. They win a game against a good team and then they lose the next one,” Subbaraman said.

Unlike the Lions, with most playoff teams it doesn’t matter where they play the bottom line is they win. The Lions are a good home team posting a 4-3 record. But when they have to go on the road the Lions have struggled going 3-4. If the Lions make the playoffs they will get to host one game at home but after that they will have to go on the road to face the one or the two seed in the NFC. Seeing that the Lions struggle on the road thus far it is hard picturing them going on the road and getting a win.

“If you want to be a playoff team you have to win your home games because it’s harder to win on the road,” Subbaraman said.

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James Volk

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