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Far-Fetched Friday: Detroit Lions to Make Playoffs Within Two Seasons
By: Jake Lofgren
Well, the Lions have lost their last eleven regular-season games, but still, look the most promising they've looked since the Jim Caldwell era.
So how does that make sense? The Lions continue to lose game after game, year after year, so how can there be any reason to believe that this team could become a contender anytime soon? Well, when you're a fan of any Detroit sports team, you have to be a bit more creative when it comes to finding glimmers of hope.
The era of biting off kneecaps has not started the way that Campbell would have wanted, but if there is anyone who still believes in this group, it is Dan Campbell. Dan Campbell has even said that no matter how ugly the team may look at times, he believes something special is getting built. Call me foolish all you want, but I believe him. This man cried after losing back-to-back weeks to walk-off field goals. Some people may consider that weakness, but in this situation, I consider it a strength. Detroit has a football coach that players and fans want to rally behind.
Not only is Campbell a fun man to cheer for, but so far, for what was expected to be a below-average team in the league, the Lions have had multiple close games like losing to game-winning field goals and going to LA and giving the Rams a scare. The Lions are backing down to nobody. For a below-average team with an above-average schedule, Lions fans can't be too angry with the output shown so far.
The Detroit Lions have always been a piece of swiss cheese, and this year is no different. Swiss cheese is delicious when you bite into it, but unfortunately, it has many holes. Holes that I wish were filled with more swiss cheese. The Lions have a decent offensive line, they have good running back options (Swift and Williams), they have TJ Hockenson, they have Jeff Okudah (although injured). But this talent cannot make up for the blatant lack of skill in other positions.
The receiving core has some bright spots. Tyrell Williams and Quientez Cephus looked good before getting injured, and Kalif Raymond has stepped in to fill that void. The Lions still need a go-to wide receiver to make all the previous names adequate second-receivers. It would also free up TJ Hockensen to stop being the guy who receives the most attention from the opposing defense.
The defense has had some good games, but also some bad ones. The defense has given up the fifth-most points in the league this season. Unsurprising considering the record. The defense is in serious need of a healthy Okudah and some defensive weapons on the defensive line or linebackers.
Jared Goff has yet to have the redemption arc that we hoped of him when coming to Detroit, but that is okay. Most knew that Goff would not be the answer long-term. The good news is that the Lions will have a few chances to address that in the next few seasons considering their draft capital.
The Lions lost Stafford, but boy did they get a good deal for him. The Lions have two first-round draft picks over the next two seasons. Although the Rams' pick will be a late first-rounder, that does not mean it is not a serious opportunity to add more talent. The Lions will have a very early pick already in this draft. Matt Corral is increasingly becoming the most highly thought of quarterback in this class. Maybe the Lions select their future QB1 and use the rest of the draft capital over the next two years to fill the roster with some much-needed young talent. Plus, this draft has some elite defensive weapons in it, like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, and DeMarvin Leal. The Lions could definitely use one of those guys, too, and maybe just hold off on that quarterback decision in a class that is considered weak in the position. Especially if somebody like Matt Corral could fall to them late in the round at that Rams pick. The Lions already drafted well in 2021 with a class led by Penei Sewell. If the Lions can repeat this, it will be a monumental step in the right direction.
The NFC North is not at its strongest point. The Packers could be on the verge of collapsing if Rodgers is indeed on his "last dance." The Bears have a bunch of problems of their own. And then the Vikings suffer from being extremely average. There is no reason to think that the Lions could not climb to the top of this division in the coming future.
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