With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers settling on a new head coach, attention now shifts to the other vacancies in the NFL. Of the four teams still interviewing coaches, two are good candidates to make the playoffs next season. The Washington Redskins and Houston Texans are more likely to make the playoffs than the Cleveland Browns, but it’s the situation with the Detroit Lions that’s seems like the sunniest of residences when it comes to coaching opportunities.
Of course, that all depends on who’s looking. Lovie Smith was the Lions’ first choice, but their backup may be San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But whoever takes over, it’s a no hassle, high-reward atmosphere and roster. The Lions don’t have an egomaniac owner like Dan Snyder, who could nurture and also damage a relationship at the drop of a hat. To sum it all up, the Lions have far less drama, better units on both sides of the ball, and a franchise quarterback that isn’t injury prone.
When you factor in Calvin Johnson and the Lions’ defense, it’s clear that this team is closest to being playoff ready than the other teams are still scrambling to find a coach. Of course, the NFC North is still a treacherous road. The Lions lost four in a row en route to a 7-9 season, but stayed in the mix despite their missteps; those missteps ultimately cost Jim Schwartz his job.
Though they finished with a losing record, this is a bona fide playoff team in a winnable division. You can’t tell me this team isn’t loaded on offense and defense and can’t sniff a wildcard spot with a legit hire. In the end, Detroit will always contend with the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears come December, but Detroit has what it takes to win the black-and-blue division with the right hire.