The Detroit Lions should feel pretty good about their win against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving with lots of great performances to build upon. The defense was dominant, the running game was versatile and effective, and Matthew Stafford spread the ball out just enough to get Calvin Johnson some space. That is all great for the Lions and should help their confidence going into the last few games of the season. However, not to be a huge stick in the mud, but the Packers looked awful and the Lions still lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ve gone one for two over the Thanksgiving week against backup quarterbacks.
One thing about great teams is they don’t dwell on the good or the bad, so I’m not going to harp on the Lions and suggest they jump back two games to the comedy of errors that was the game against the Buccaneers. They got swash-buckled on a few key plays in that game which combined with actual bad plays to make for a very disappointing loss. With Jim Schwartz getting serious flak from “most critics” – me for example – it was important for them to recover quickly and beat the Packers.
The same goes for their next game. Snapping their losing streak on Thanksgiving against a division rival and perennial Lions destroyer in the Packers is a feather in the cap, but the next game is now the most important game of the season. The Lions are not exactly running away with the division, so their lingering issues need to be addressed while they have the extra time over the off weekend.
The defense looked great against the Packers, but going up against their own top-notch QB on a couple extra days of practice may better suit them for defending against actual starters in upcoming games. Stafford’s decision making is still suspect, but with better protection I think that will change soon. Stafford seems rushed for no reason on some plays, and perhaps that’s due to a form of post-traumatic-awful-offensive-line syndrome. With a few extra days for him to realize that his line is actually pretty decent going up against their own “dirt bag” defensive line should help too. Finally, the winning mentality and discipline will hopefully be addressed in extra practices. The Schwartz still remains, so concerns regarding mental mistakes are always prevalent and this is the perfect time to address them.