Here’s what you should do if Detroit Lions flop in Green Bay

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions don’t have to win Sunday.

Seriously. They don’t.  

They can lose to the Packers and still make the playoffs. It has been done before.  

From 2007 to 2018, 98 teams opened their season 0-2, according to CBS Sports. Twelve teams made the playoffs. 

But wait, the news gets better. For even if the Lions lose in Green Bay, and then lose the following week in Arizona, and open the season 0-3, the playoffs are still possible. 

Five teams have made the playoffs after losing the first three games. You want to know who one of those teams were? 

You guessed it: your Lions. 

That was back in 1995. When not only did the Lions begin 0-3, but they lost six of their first nine. You can imagine what your younger self felt that year watching a team with a 3-6 record. 

Those Lions were led by Barry Sanders. The team finished the season 7-0 to earn a wildcard spot.  

They traveled the Philadelphia. And, um, this is where the story gets ugly, and probably why you may not remember the Lions’ minor miracle to get to the playoffs. 

The Eagles beat the Lions 58-37. It wasn’t just embarrassing, it was demoralizing. But the team used to make the playoffs once in a while back then. And they were entertaining as hell to watch. 

Because of Sanders. 

This year’s team isn’t that fun. Not yet. And maybe not at all the rest of the year. 

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Maybe the Lions start 0-4 (the fourth game is at home against NFC contender New Orleans) and you won’t have to worry about silly sportswriters looking at history to give the Lions hope. Maybe you’re looking at next year’s draft after watching Sunday’s loss to the Bears. 

Or maybe you don’t care at all. 

Though I’m guessing you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this, looking for reasons not to give up just yet. 



Let’s see what happens at Lambeau Field. And State Farm Stadium, formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium, usually known as Lions Struggle Stadium.  

The point is, let the season breathe for a moment. The Lions don’t have to beat the Packers. Though they will have a better chance in a mostly empty stadium — Wisconsin isn’t allowing fans yet, either.  

They do have to beat the Cardinals, even if math gives them a slim chance at the postseason with a loss. But let’s get real: an 0-3 start won’t lead to the playoffs, even in a year when the postseason was expanded.  

Besides, it’s all you’ve got right now. The Tigers have faded. The Pistons and Wings are watching the NBA and NHL playoffs. Big Ten football is back, but not for five more weeks. 

By my calculation, that takes you through Week 6 of the Lions schedule — they have a bye in week 5. Can you give them until then? 

On the Sunday before Michigan and Michigan State open their season, the Lions play at Jacksonville. That may well be the game that determines what kind of season they will have. 

If the Lions can get to 2-2 entering that game — yes, I know, not likely — then Jacksonville will be huge. If they are 1-3 or 0-4 then, yeah, forget it. Get yourself ready for the Big Ten. 

All of which is to say that as painful as Sunday’s loss to Chicago was, and as much as you feel like the season already may be over — it’s not. 

At least for a few more weeks.  

History and math tell us so. So do the second and third quarters of Sunday’s game, when the Lions looked like something resembling competent.  

Remember, if D’Andre Swift catches the ball in the end zone, we’re having a completely different conversation. He didn’t.  

But all that means is that the Lions lost a game many of us had down as a win. They’ve got to find a way to win one where we had them losing.  

Maybe that’s Sunday in Green Bay. Or back home against the Saints in two weeks. 

At the very least, don’t you want to find out what happens? 

Here’s betting you do, and that against your better judgement, you will stick around for a few weeks longer, hoping that maybe, just maybe, in this brutal and never-ending year of 2020, the Lions are finally ready to bring a little light.

Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor.

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