At the beginning of the season, for the Lions to be a playoff team they probably believed that they would need to beat the Vikings twice. Instead, they have lost both games against the Vikings and at 4-5 on the season, are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs.
A team with 5 losses and a team with 6 losses will absolutely make the playoffs, however, the Lions are not a team capable of winning out or going 6-1 down the stretch to make the playoffs. So, like most seasons, its early November and Lions fans are left watching their best player’s stats to see if he can break records and looking ahead to the NFL Draft.
Most of the Lions fan base was relegated to simply watching Barry Sanders run and would keep track of how many yards he would gain, since he didn’t score an overwhelmingly large amount of TDs. The same can be said for Calvin Johnson, this year anyway, about his yardage and lack of TDs. This team has the ability, like many of those non-playoff 90’s teams, to win any game, but struggle to put together 4 straight quarters of quality football on a consistent basis.
In Sunday afternoon’s loss in Minnesota, Matthew Stafford had to move around and out of the pocked more than usual and the receivers failed to get separation from the Vikings defensive backs to help him out. The running game was adequate, but that wasn’t enough as Nick Harris had a bad day punting and allowed the Vikings fantastic field position and the Defense failed to create turnovers to alter that momentum.
It is clear at this point that these Detroit Lions need help. They need help along the offensive and defensive line and secondary. Louis Delmas is a game changer, which was obvious in the two games he was able to play this year. However, like Jahvid Best, the Lions should move forward assuming he is not going to be a major part of the team due to heath issues.
In the offseason (yes, its week 10 and I’m talking about the offseason, don’t be surprised, it’s the Lions) the Lions need to address these three areas focusing first on the secondary, then the offensive line, then the defensive line. Kyle Vanden Bosch is a shell of his former self, Cliff Avril is leaving via free agency and suffered a concussion and Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young are adequate back ups at best. However, the Defensive End position is one of the easier positions in the game to find quick help at.
It is the quality corner backs, game changing safety and good guards, center and tackles that are few and far between. Martin Mayhew needs to make those a priority in free agency and the draft this year. Because if he is able to upgrade those positions, in today’s NFL, the Lions go from a playoff watcher to a Super Bowl contender. That is what one offseason in the NFL can do for a team.