We’re not sure what’s more surprising: The Lions are still talking about making the playoffs at 1-5 or that we don’t think it’s that crazy a notion.
Okay, it’s pretty unlikely. No teams have ever rebounded from that start to make the playoffs. But in a mushy NFC North where the Bears are collapsing and the Packers have to win in New York against the Jets to avoid their fourth loss, the Lions can at least focus on the positive.
There are a few reasons the Lions can legitimately feel optimistic about the next ten games. Their offense has greatly improved; they’ve actually outscored opponents overall this year because of all their close games. (Thanks Rams!)
The team is also getting much healthier. Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford returns this week against Washington, Jahvid Best seems close to being past his turf toe, and Calvin Johnson’s shoulder problem has improved. Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy (knee) also seems to be ready to go.
“The encouraging thing is we’re getting our players back,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Of course, all of this optimism would disappear with a loss to the Redskins Sunday. There are legitimate reasons to think the Lions are “better” than their 1-5 record, but it’s time for this young team to actually prove it.