In week eight of the 2013 NFL season, the Detroit Lions escaped with a last-second victory over a Dallas Cowboys team that probably shouldn’t have lost. Should haves and shouldn’t haves don’t matter at this point, though, as the Lions now hold a 5-3 record and are in solid position for a playoff push after their bye week in week nine.
Though the Lions have certainly had their struggles this season, both defensively and, to a lesser degree, offensively, they are just a half game back of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North and are currently holding the second wildcard spot in the conference if the postseason were to begin today.
However, there is still a half of the season left to play, meaning that the Lions still have work to do if they want to make it back to the playoffs.
One of the frustrating things about Detroit this season is the fact that they have yet to put forth any kind of winning streak this season. Their longest winning streak thus far stands at just two over weeks three and four. If they are going to make the postseason, they are going to need a solid string of wins. Luckily for them, they will have the opportunity coming off of their bye week.
They come off of the bye with a matchup against the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler, making that a winnable contest. They then match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the weeks 11 and 12 before meeting Green Bay in week 13. If the Lions avoid a let-down, they could be on a four-game winning streak and sitting at 8-3 when they come up against the Packers.
This Lions team certainly has some dynamic playmakers on their team in guys like Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson. However, if they want to do more than be exciting and become a legit playoff team, their three weeks out of the bye are going to be vital. If Detroit is able to come out and play to their potential, they could be in the driver’s seat for a postseason berth.