In the past three weeks, the Detroit Lions have played stream of not-so-good teams. On paper, the Steelers, Browns and Bears aren’t exactly bottom of the barrel teams, but the Lions happened to face two of them starting a backup quarterback, and the third—Cleveland—had a quarterback who was playing like a backup due to injuries, and (maybe) he’s just not that good.
But this post isn’t about crapping on Baker Mayfield. The point is the Lions had three golden opportunities for a win straight out of the bye, and they failed all three times. There’s plenty of blame to go around for each individual game, but the fact remains that this team is currently 0-10-1 with only six remaining opportunities to avoid another winless season.
Of Detroit’s 10 losses, five were by just one possession, making it seem like it’s almost impossible for this team to actually go winless. These 50/50 games have all gone in the opponent’s favor. It’s only a matter before one goes Detroit’s way, right? RIGHT?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which remaining game is the Lions’ best chance at getting their first win?
My answer: Before I give my answer, let’s look at the final six games of the season.
- vs. Vikings (5-5)
- at Broncos (5-5)
- vs. Cardinals (9-2)
- at Falcons (4-6)
- at Seahawks (3-7)
- vs. Packers (8-3)
The unfortunate part of the Lions’ schedule is that all of the easier remaining opponents this year are on the road. At home, the Lions face the Vikings, Packers and Cardinals—three teams currently holding a playoff spot. On the road, the Broncos, Falcons and Seahawks are all on the outside looking in.
Of course, the Lions were a missed 53-yard field goal away from beating the Vikings on their home turf, though that required some late-game luck to even be put in that situation. We can just forget about the Cardinals and Packers, unless Green Bay has nothing to play for in Week 18.
That leaves us with the away schedule. The Broncos are a wildly inconsistent team who has both beaten the Dallas Cowboys handily and been smoked by the Eagles. The Seahawks will probably be out of the playoff race by Week 17, but Seattle is still a really tough place to win in.
My answer is Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta’s four wins have all come against really bad opponents: the Giants, Jets, Dolphins and a Saints team with Trevor Siemian. All four of those wins were by a single possession and three came on game-winning field goals as time expired.
Even better, this may actually be the worst team in football. They are 32nd in DVOA’s efficiency metric with a particularly bad defense (30th), well… and offense (31st). They present the best matchup for Detroit, and if the Lions can stay out of their own way (I know, big if), they actually should win that game.
What is the Lions’ best opportunity for a win this season?
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