The Detroit Lions came out of week 10 of the 2013 NFL season with their playoff destiny in tow. They sat at 6-3 and had a solid cushion atop the NFC North. With a relatively favorable schedule coming out of that week, the Lions had the chance to essentially start running away with the division.
Now that they have played the games in weeks 11 and 12, though, their destiny is much less favorable and they are going to have a fight in the division to make it to the postseason now. That’s because, despite favorable matchups against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, the Lions have lost two consecutive games and are now in a tie for first place in the division with the Chicago Bears and have just a half-game lead over the Green Bay Packers.
On Sunday against the Bucs, it was Matthew Stafford revisiting his old nemesis of throwing interceptions that ultimately doomed the Lions. Sure, he threw for a solid 297 yards and three touchdowns, but that kind of production isn’t going to be enough when you throw four interceptions and one of those picks being taken back for a score.
Really, Stafford has been the issue with this team over the past two weeks and the two losses they suffered. Against Pittsburgh, Stafford threw for 362 yards, two scores and threw a pick, but he did so while completing just 41.3 percent of his passes. That’s a lot of empty plays and, subsequently, a lot of empty drives.
Heading into their game on Thanksgiving Day against the Packers, Stafford needs to get whatever has been wrong right. The Packers are a defense that the Lions’ QB should be able to take advantage of, but he’s going to have to be much better than he has been lately if that’s going to be the way this plays out and if Detroit wants to stay in the playoff-picture.