Are The Lions Playoff Contenders?

The Lions are coming off a win, on the road (which up until 2010 were pretty hard to come by) in a place they’ve never won at before.  They looked pretty good overall, a little shaky in some areas and lost Jason Jones for the year.

At 2-1 and a first place showdown with the Bears next week, the Lions are in a pretty good position to establish themselves early as a team that has a chance to make the playoffs.  However, I am even more concerned now than I was after the Cardinals loss that this team just doesn’t have what it takes to win.

I feel like Principal Skinner in saying ‘Prove me wrong, Lions, PROVE ME WRONG!” but being sincere:

From what I saw on Sunday and the previous two Sunday’s, I just don’t see a team that is a contender.  I see a team that has talent that can win against bad teams and if things bounce right, can beat an above average team, but doesn’t stand a chance against the top tier NFL teams.

When the offense is going right, Scott Linehan is as creative as can be when Reggie Bush is playing and Joique Bell showed some amazing ability yesterday in relief of Bush.  But, the different blitzes the worst defense in the NFL showed the Lions confused them and they were quickly thrown off their game plan. A good NFL team would be able to continue that and exploit the Lions short comings unlike the Redskins and it just so happens that the Redskins are terrible and weren’t able to sustain the pressure on Stafford.

The Defense is another story.  I can’t decide if the entire secondary is a nightmare, just part of it and part of the linebacking corps or just the system that is employed by Gunther Cunningham that is the biggest problem.  The Cardinals were able to pass all over the Lions, a lot of it was intermediate routes that they were able to control the ball with and occasionally break a tackle for a bigger gain, but the Redskins were able to exploit the same area on Sunday.

I don’t know if a shut down Cornerback helps this team, if a more consistent pass rush does or if a different system would help.  The Lions defense ranks 16th in the league right now and has had plenty of time to get the right players in to run Cunningham’s system, yet still can’t seem to consistently stop even a mediocre passing attack.

If the Lions can’t find a way to slow down the opponents passing game, there doesn’t seem to be much hope to go far this year.  Again, this seems to fall into the “Prove Me Wrong” category, as I would like to see the Lions win, to win a playoff game, to finally make a Super Bowl, but I don’t see, in its current state, a winning football team.

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