Surprise, surprise, the Detroit Lions are 0-4 again to start a season, which marks the fourth time they’ve sunk that low since the 2006 season.
At least this year’s Lions aren’t inept enough to repeat history and finish 0-16, right?
Based on the strength of this year’s team and that historically bad 2008 version of the Lions, it shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.
However, one thing can be said about the Lions on a year-to-year basis: they never fail to find a way to disappoint their far-too-loyal fanbase. On Monday night it was Megatron, their best player — and maybe the best receiver in the game — making another play that sent Lions fans from excited to exasperated. As Calvin Johnson seemed to be reaching for the end zone to give the Lions a lead inside the two-minute warning in Seattle, the hand of fate (or more accurately the hand of Kam Chancellor) intervened. The ball was set loose and went out of the back of the end zone and with it went any chance this Lions team has to make noise this season.
In so many words, you can never put what is impossible for other NFL franchises past the Lions, which would be two 0-16 campaigns.
And remember, going winless for an entire season has never been done once by any of the 31 other franchises.
So, it’s highly unlikely that the franchise, even one as bad as the Lions that hasn’t won a championship since 1957 — before it became known as the Super Bowl — and has only won one playoff game since then (in 1991 against the Dallas Cowboys), finishes the 2015 campaign without a victory.
But, for the sake of this article, let’s take a look at some of the team’s statistics and at the next few opponents on the squad’s ’15 schedule to get a true gauge of how much longer the Lions could go winless.
First and foremost, prior to its Monday Night Football matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit ranked in the bottom half of nearly every major offensive statistic, including in points per game (25th), yards per game (27th) and rushing yards per game (32nd). After failing to score an offensive touchdown against the Hawks, the Lions are still near the bottom of the NFL in those categories.
With one of the weakest ground games in the league based on numbers and the eye test, the Lions currently have little to no chance of being able to establish a balanced offensive attack.
Subsequently, winning football games on a consistent basis will be a complicated matter for the Lions for the foreseeable future.
And all of this is the case without even mentioning that Detroit’s defense hasn’t done much better through the first four weeks of the season, regardless of their gutsy effort against Seattle last night.
In fact, Jim Caldwell’s team has allowed nearly 30 points per game and more than 350 yards per game.
To add insult to injury, the Lions have seemingly been unable to stop anyone through the air.
With a banged up Matthew Stafford — who is currently battling soreness in his ribs – also being taken into account, things are not exactly adding up in the squad’s favor.
It’s why the Lions’ problems on both sides of the ball might get worse before they get better, which is incredibly troubling when taking into account the organization’s looming contest against — like the Seahawks – a playoff team from last year in the 3-1 Arizona Cardinals, who have averaged 405 yards per game and 283.2 yards of passing behind the veteran arm of Carson Palmer through four weeks.
The Cardinals also rank fifth in total defense with 306.8 yards allowed per contest.
It spells trouble for Stafford and the rest of the Lions’ offense, and it likely leads to the squad’s first 0-5 start since bottoming out at 0-16 in ’08.
It is why the Lions’ week six matchup with the divisional rival Chicago Bears cannot come soon enough.
With the Bears allowing the second-most points per game and struggling to score points so far this season as well – with an average of 17 a game through four games (the fourth-lowest point per game total in the NFL), Detroit’s October 18th matchup with the Windy City’s NFL franchise appears to provide Caldwell and Co. with their best chance of gaining their first W on the season.
It is an opportunity that the Lions can’t afford to waste, but one in which they typically find a way to do so.
However, with the game taking place indoors at Ford Field instead of outdoors at Soldier Field, it’s an opportunity that the Lions – who will be reeling from a five-game losing streak — won’t allow to pass them by this time around.