Why the Detroit Lions’ chances of winning don’t look good over final 6 games

Detroit Free Press

Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett breaks down the Detroit Lions‘ 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears, and looks at players who helped and hurt their stock Sunday at Ford Field.

Stock up

LB Alex Anzalone: Anzalone has struggled with missed tackles at times, but he had his finest game as a Lion on Thursday. Playing next to a rotating cast of linebackers because of injuries, Anzalone finished with nine tackles and two pass deflections. He sparked the Lions defense early with a tipped pass over the middle and made a big third-down stop on Cole Kmet. Games like this are why the Lions named Anzalone a captain this season.

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WR Josh Reynolds: Reynolds did not have a huge day, catching three passes for 70 yards. But in his second active game as a Lion, he showed he can be a threat downfield. Reynolds ran a nice slant-and-go route on his 39-yard touchdown catch, and it’s clear he has good chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff. Look for him to be even more involved in the offense over the final six games.

RB Godwin Igwebuike: Igwebuike has three carries in the Lions’ past three games. He broke an 11-yard run on his only touch Thursday, and had gains of 14 and 42 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago. D’Andre Swift is the Lions’ No. 1 back when healthy, but he left Thursday’s game with a sprained shoulder. If he has to miss any time, the Lions could do worse than giving Igwebuike the ball more.

LIONS GRADES: OL struggles too much to overcome

CARLOS MONARREZ: It’s (almost) official: Lions won’t win a game this season

SHAWN WINDSOR: Forget another Lions loss, Dan Campbell is losing the benefit of the doubt

Stock down

The Lions chances of winning a game this year: The Lions were the first team to go winless in a 16-game season, and it’s looking more and more like they’ll be the first team to go 0-for in a 17-game season, too. The Lions play just two of their final six games against teams with losing records: On the road in Weeks 16 and 17 against the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. If they can’t beat a bad Bears team at home, their chances of winning anything this year are not good.

CARLOS MONARREZ: Lions QB Jared Goff’s complaint about holding calls is a loser’s lament

LT Taylor Decker: Decker, understandably, still is working through some kinks after missing the first half of the season with a finger injury. In his third start of the year, he allowed the pressure that led to Goff’s fumble and was flagged twice for holding. The Lions have invested a lot of money in their offensive line, and they need Decker at his best for their offense to work.

S Will Harris: A natural safety, Harris played as the Lions’ primary slot defender Thursday in place of A.J. Parker. He had seven tackles and a pass breakup, but he also allowed a 52-yard catch to Darnell Mooney that set up the Bears’ first touchdown and gave up the final third-and-4 conversion on Chicago’s game-winning field goal drive. Harris might have been expecting underneath help on that second of those passes, and he can’t be expected to stay with Mooney on deep over routes. But unless the Lions decide to try Jerry Jacobs in the slot, Harris might have more growing pains at the position ahead.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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