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Monday Morning QB: Detroit Lions still have playoff hopes

Lions are 2nd in NFC North

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DETROIT – After the Detroit Lions were blown out by the New England Patriots on Sunday, many felt the "same old Lions" mantra creeping back into their lives (of course, for some it never left).

On this Monday morning, let's have some perspective.

Three weeks ago, entering a bye week, the Lions were 6-2, heading into a stretch of games against the hottest team in the NFL, and two of the top teams (according to their record) in the NFL; Miami, Arizona and New England. Most fans knew these games were going to be tough. Many suggested winning one of these games would be satisfactory. When the Lions beat Miami at Ford Field, fans got greedy. An excruciating loss to the Cardinals on the road, and a blow-out loss at Foxboro shouldn't have been entirely surprising, but for some reason, they were.

By beating Miami, the Lions made us believe they were better than they were; that they were ready for the bright lights. We were wrong.

But again, let's have some perspective.

At the start of the season, most picked the Lions to have a losing record, being non-competitive in the NFC North. They are 7-4, one game away from 1st place.

Yes, the offense has been horrendous, but the defense has carried this team all year long. With the exception of Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time, the Lions have shut down opposing quarterbacks. Not to mention, the last two games were in hard-to-win stadiums, where the Patriots haven't lost in 2 years, and Cardinals haven't lost this year.

There is no question that the Lions offense needs to wake up; wide receivers need to catch the ball and the offensive line needs to protect Matthew Stafford. But fans calling for Jim Caldwell's job after a 7-4 start, or calling for the likes of Kellen Moore to take over quarterback responsibilities is insane. Unless Kellen Moore can also catch the ball, this idea is ludicrous. Let's take a breath and look ahead.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Lions are 4-1 at home this season. Their next three contests are at home against losing teams with a combined record of 11-22. This couldn't have come at a better time for the Lions offense and defense.

They will have a chance to quickly rebound with a short week, and a Thanksgiving day matchup with the Chicago Bears, the 21st ranked defense, and the 29th ranked pass defense. This is the perfect game for the Lions offense to break out of their current slump.

With a weak NFC, the Lions are still in position to make the playoffs. The division leading Green Bay Packers have a matchup with New England next week, and have to travel to play a scrappy Buffalo Bills team.

In their final 5 games, Detroit plays one game against a team with a winning record. They'll take on Green Bay, at Lambeau Field to end the season. Buckle up -- this season is far from over.


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