The Detroit Lions have their fans on a high after the franchise recorded its third straight victory of the season on Thanksgiving against the hapless Philadelphia Eagles.
But like every high, the Detroit faithful must come down from it at some point.
There might never be a better chance for it to happen than playing against the rival Green Bay Packers tonight at home on Thursday Night Football, especially since the Pack have already been embarrassed once this season by the lowly Lions.
The narrative’s already been dragged out, but to reiterate it one more time: Green Bay lost to the Lions at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991 in its first meeting of 2015 with its bitter rivals.
Thus, there’s no team that wants to beat Jim Caldwell & Co. more right now than two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
On top of the revenge factor, Rodgers and the Pack have dropped four of their last five, including two of their last three matchups with NFC North opponents.
And those two aforementioned losses within the division have come against the two worst teams in the NFC North, first the Lions and then the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving night.
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations such as the Packers, losing to the two weakest teams in one’s division is bad enough. But losing to either of those teams twice in the same season is inexcusable.
This worst nightmare scenario is something that could be realized by the Packers against the Lions for the first time since ’91 if they drop their contest with Matthew Stafford and Co. on December 3.
And yes, that stat is factually accurate, no matter how unbelievable it may be about the team with one playoff win since 1957. If you were wondering, that lone playoff win came in ’91.
Man, we’re keeping up well with the ’91 theme — a prevailing one for the Detroit media. It’ll be alive and well more than ever before if the Lions pull another one out of their collective behinds in their final Thursday contest of the year.
If the Lions do find a way to win, all bets are off for what the Motor City’s NFL franchise can do the rest of the way. And trust me, it’s not because I believe in the Lions as a football team. Instead, it’s because of the squad’s weak remaining schedule.
After facing the Packers, the Lions do not play another team which currently possesses a winning or .500 record.
That’s why a glimmer of hope exists for a team that at one point looked like it would struggle winning more than one game.
Unfortunately for some Lions fans — those with the hope of gaining a high draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Lions now sit at 4-7 with a slightly better than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs (1.1 percent), according to FootballOutsiders.com.
It shouldn’t really be something that gets the hopes of Lions fans up, though. Let me tell you why.
It’s because Caldwell’s squad is not going to go undefeated to close out the season. The reason why, you ask?
Well, it’s as simple as this: Rodgers is due for a big bounce-back game after throwing for only 202 yards and one touchdown against the sub-.500 Bears in Week 12.
While he might not play great due to the porous offensive line being used to protect him, which has resulted in him being sacked at least twice in each of Green Bay’s last eight games, he’ll play good enough in crunch time to lead the Packers down the field for a field goal try by Mason Crosby that will win the game.
This will allow the Lions to re-focus their attention on what really matters most: building for the future and doing so via the draft, which is something that has been done by the Packers for a decade-plus now under general manager Ted Thompson.
Now, it’s time for that successful recipe to be duplicated by the Lions, whether it be interim general manager Sheldon White leading the way going forward or a more accomplished executive hired from outside the organization.
Will the Lions pursue what will almost certainly be a futile playoff run this year or turn their sights the future? The result of tonight’s will determine that.