Could the Detroit Lions actually go 0-17? Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the schedule.
The Detroit Lions are the last remaining NFL team without a win this season. A seventh loss to start the season feels like a lock, with a trip to take on Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Lions are more than two-touchdown underdogs.
At 0-6 and coming off their worst performance of the season in Week 6, it’s worth wondering if first-year head coach Dan Campbell will struggle to keep his players motivated as the weeks go on. Talk of an 0-17 finish is almost too easy, for a franchise that’s been there before with an 0-16 campaign in 2008. Of course that season yielded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, a pick that was used to take Stafford.
With all their shortcomings, the Lions have been competitive for a stretch of every game this season. So they will certainly fall into a win at some point, right? But what if they don’t?
Could the Lions really go 0-17?
The best way to pin down the chances the Lions go 0-17 is to go game-by-game. So let’s do it.
Week 7: at Los Angeles Rams
There’s not much to say here, other than Stafford seems fully focused on taking care of business as he and his team should.
Week 8: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are 2-4, and with a Week 7 road date against the Raiders coming 2-5 feels likely. There is some talent around, but not enought talent to overcome being the most penalized team in the NFL. This looks like an opportunity for the Lions to win.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have looked better over the last couple weeks, but that could easily move back the other direction before Week 10. The Lions have a somewhat decent chance to win here, but going on the road will make it tougher.
Week 11: at Cleveland Browns
If the Browns are somewhat more healthy by this point, they will have little trouble with the Lions.
Week 12 (Thanksgiving): vs. Chicago Bears
If not for ill-time turnovers on multiple trips to the red zone, the Lions might have beaten the Bears in Week 4. Chicago is unlikely to blow them out, so avoiding inopportune mistakes will given the Lions a chance as people watch this game from their Thanksgiving gatherings.
Week 13: vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Lions nearly upset the Vikings in Week 5, taking a late lead after being gifted an opportunity deep in Minnesota territory. But they surrendered a final-minute drive for a winning field goal, and went home heartbroken. Expect the Vikings to take care of business in better fashion the second time around.
Week 14: at Denver Broncos
Hitting the road for the Mile High City is always a challenge, but the Broncos aren’t an outstanding team top to bottom. Mediocre (Teddy Bridgewater) or erratic (Drew Lock) quarterback play may keep the Lions in this game, so going home with a win is not out of the question.
Week 15: vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are the last undefeated team in the league entering Week 7. While they’ll probably have at least a loss or two by this time, they won’t lose to the Lions.
Week 16: at Atlanta Falcons
Another game that looks winnable for the Lions, even though the Falcons currently sit at a decent 2-3 coming off a bye–their two wins have come against the Giants and the Jets. The Lions won’t be much of an underdog here, and that may only be because Atlanta is the home team.
Week 17: at Seattle Seahawks
Assuming Russell Wilson is back for this game, and all signs are he will be with room to spare, the Lions’ chances to win aren’t good. But if Wilson is out, the odds get markedly better.
Week 18: vs. Green Bay Packers
This one may come down to if the Packers have playoff seeding at stake. If they rest key players, the Lions only have to be better than a bunch of backups with Jordan Love under center. If Green Bay is all-systems go with something to play for, it could get very ugly to end Campbell’s first season as head coach.
Bottom Line/Prediction: The Lions will not go 0-17. There’s a realistic path to winning four of their remaining games (Eagles, Bears on a short week, Broncos, Falcons), with rose-tinted glasses or favorable circumstances outside their control showing two or three more possibilities.