For a coach whose team is in first place with three weeks left, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz can’t feel great about his job security right now.
The Lions’ loss on Sunday to the Eagles puts the pressure on: If they win their next three games, they win the NFC North. But if the Lions lose any of their next three, there’s a good chance they’ll lose the division to either the Bears or the Packers (who play each other in Week 17).
And that raises a question: How could Lions owner William Clay Ford justify keeping Schwartz if the Lions don’t win the division in a year like this? If the Lions can’t win the division in a year when the Packers and Bears were both devastated by injuries and the Vikings totally melted down, when could they ever win the division?
The good news for Schwartz’s job security is that Ford is a very patient man. This is, after all, the man who sat through year after year of “Fire Millen” chants raining down on him before finally firing Matt Millen. But with Schwartz currently sitting on a 29-49 record in his fifth year as the Lions’ coach, it’s difficult to see how Ford could stomach a late-season collapse.
Detroit is favored to win its next game, at home against Baltimore a week from tonight, and the Lions will be favored to win their final two, home against the Giants and at Minnesota, as well. So there’s a good chance that Schwartz will lead his team to a three-game winning streak to end the season, and that the Lions will host their first playoff game in 20 years.
But if that doesn’t happen, it may be time for Ford to show Schwartz the door.