I know my Turkey day puns are dad-joke-level good but hear me out! Riding high on a 3-game win streak, I’ve got my Lions-flavored Kool-Aid in full effect. This team finds ways to overcome a young defense (with plenty of holes), as well as injuries to key pieces of the offense. With a turkey day massacre potentially looming with Buffalo in town, we really can’t lose hope after this week.
Can the Lions Feast on a Wildcard Spot?
The Wildcard Picture Today
If the season ended today, we’d pick in the teens and be on the outside looking in. Thankfully for us, there are still plenty of games to go. The Detroit Lions are 10th, behind two teams we’ve beaten (Giants and Commanders), as well as a Falcons team that is just as suspect as we are. NFL.com has a cool playoff picture chart I tend to follow if you wanted my reference.
The Hope: Scheduling Favors the Lions
Detroit has seen most of its toughest opponents already, though there are always surprises in the NFL. The Bills and Vikings look like the strongest Ls and the rest are really toss-ups. We’ve beaten Chicago and Green Bay, the Jets, Jags, and Panthers look to be trending down. If I had to make a guess, we get 3-4 more wins, if we’re lucky we sneak in a 5th somehow.
None of these are gimme’s, I’ll never say that in the NFL (especially with what I’ve seen…0-16). Detroit’s got some injuries that could hurt the defense (Okudah will miss at least one game in the concussion protocol). Getting a guy like Jameson Williams could make for a fun December but we need to get our passing game back to where it was early in the year.
The Rest of the NFC
There’s a cluster of probably 4-7 teams that could push for the wild card, including the 49ers, Giants, Commanders, Cardinals, Falcons, Packers, and Saints. The Giants are 7-3 but falling fast, and the rest are between 4 and 6 wins.
Talent-wise, it really should be the 49ers or Cardinals as sure things but they just haven’t been playing their best ball all year. Taylor Heinicke is a great story, every year it feels like when he gets a chance he plays hard. The bigger question for me is, why? Why has he not just been given a chance as the starter?
Feet to the fire, I’d say the top 4 teams stay pretty much the same and the 3 that get in from the rest are New Orleans, Arizona, and San Francisco. They either have the talent or coaching needed to lock in and make the playoffs. As Much as I love my Lions and want to see them get back to the playoffs, it’ll be a tough road to the wild card, and not everything will break our way.
The Future Is Bright!
There are plenty of reasons to be excited as a Lions fan, the coaching staff appears to be set. Multiple early draft picks, plenty of cap space going into the next off-season, and a front office that knows what it’s doing. My hope is this team builds up its defense and gives me more linebackers, cornerbacks, and guys to rush the passer.
You have to think at some point in the draft we target our next quarterback, looking at our mock drafts we have tons of options! You can either use your earliest first and land a guy you think can be your franchise. OR I wouldn’t be surprised if we took game-changers on defense with our early picks. Then you come back at 44 and take your favorite QB that’s there. Do you target a guy like Hendon Hooker, who was lost for the season last week? Other intriguing options would be Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, or even Michael Pennix Jr.
No matter what we want them to do, the future is very bright for the Detroit Lions. This team made some smart moves on and off the field! Want to keep talking about all things Detroit or the NFL Draft? Hit me up on Twitter and don’t forget to check out our Mock Draft’s here on Draft Countdown!