Tom Greene | December 2nd, 2019
Yes, you read that right. At 3-8-1, the Detroit Lions have become the first team in the NFC to be eliminated from playoff contention. This brings another two questions to my plate that came a lot sooner than I’d anticipated. “What’s the point of the last four games? What’s the point of these recaps now?”
Those questions will be answered in the three recap points. Simply put, the Lions went from a 2-0-1 team that showed some promise to a 3-8-1 team that’s looking for its identity again. Whether you’re a player, coach, front office member or fan, going 1-8 in a nine-game stretch is never fun. Let’s look at the three points.
1. David Blough Shined, but the Bottom Fell Out
That’s pretty much what happened on Thanksgiving day. With Jeff Driskel out with a hamstring injury, it was David Blough‘s turn to make his NFL debut. His first pass was a 75-yard touchdown strike to Kenny Golladay, which surprised a lot of people, including myself. Blough finished with a respectable 280 yards, two touchdowns and a pick that ended the game. Bo Scarbrough finished with 83 yards on the ground, and Golladay finished with 158 yards and a score. The offense did a respectable job on Turkey Day.
However, the defense again reared its ugly head. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Miller, who’s had a relatively quiet fantasy season, had nine catches for 140 yards. Allen Robinson had eight catches for 86 yards and a score. While Detroit’s defense only gave up 24 points, it was enough to cost them the game and a chance at the playoffs. Unfortunately, this is a story the Lions’ fanbase has seen over and over again.
2. What’s the Point of the Last Four Games?
The stakes for Detroit mean absolutely nothing at this point, but for the last four opponents, playing Detroit is now a must-win game. There’s the age-old “Tank for your draft pick!” notion, but no team is actually willing to tank, believe it or not.
At Minnesota- The Vikings are right in the thick of things in the division with the Packers. After a Monday night clash with Seattle, Minnesota will hope to keep pace with (or possibly overtake) the Pack for the top spot in the NFC North. For them, a victory over Detroit would really help things. For Detroit, playing spoiler will help Green Bay and Chicago. It’ll also give the Lions hope that yes, they can win another game.
Tampa Bay- Surprising enough, Jameis Winston‘s crew sits tied with Carolina for second in the NFC South, with @jball0202‘s Saints already clinching the division. While the playoff outlook seems bleak, the Bucs could still mathematically be in the hunt when they take the field in Detroit on December 15th. A victory would grant the Bucs a much-needed win. A loss could end their playoff hopes, which the Lions would be more than happy about.
At Denver- Denver is in a comparable spot as Detroit at 4-8. While the playoff push may be out of the works, fundamentals may be in. Both teams will be playing for pride and a possible spot for next season. Nothing to play for in terms of playoffs, but everything in terms of pride and team position.
Green Bay- At this point, the Packers may have already clinched the division. They could be behind the Vikings, too. The implications for this game for the Packers is unclear, but it’s clear that it means a lot. The Lions would love nothing more than to spoil the Packers’ playoff chances. OK, maybe a playoff win, but if it’s unrealistic, beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers would be the next best thing.
3. What’s the Point of the Recaps Now?
At this point, only the most loyal of loyal Lions fans may be watching the last four games. But, in the professional world, and even people employed by the Lions, the season isn’t over until after Week 17. If there are four more games left, that means four more opportunities to write recaps and for the Lions to win a game.
Elimination may mean the end of playoff chances, but the players still have to take the field. The hard-working employees of the Lions staff still have to show up to work. That means recaps should still come your way.
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, as explained earlier, have everything to play for in this game. We’ll see if the Lions can play spoiler next week. Yes, Paul Allen, this IS Detroit!
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images