Detroit Is Heading Into A Needed By 3-3 After Starting The Season 2-0.
Time flies when you’re having fun. It can also give you a chance to readjust to changes. Detroit was ranked as high as number two in the NFL power rankings from multiple outlets for week five. Detroit was 3-1 and was inches away from being 4-0. The hype around the team seemed real. This team looked real.
Then reality hit them hard.
With injuries slowly piling up and playcalling becoming stale and predictable, the Lions lost two games in a row and now sit at 3-3. People had faith in this team and fell for the trap in believing that this team could be different.
They still can be.
Detroit wasn’t supposed to be 3-3 at this point in the season, they weren’t supposed to be in the race for the NFC North crown. Well with a well-timed bye week happening this week, this gives the team a chance to rebound and still be that team everyone believed in back in week five.
The Team Will Return Healthy
This is the biggest gripe about the team after the recent loss to New Orleans. Detroit lost multiple players to injuries on Sunday, and they already had some players hurt and missing the game. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay and running back Dwayne Washington were limited in practice last week and wouldn’t play. Give them a week of rest and they should be ready to play in week eight.
Paul Worrilow had an MCL sprain, a 2-4 week injury, so his earliest return would have been against New Orleans, but with that not being done, that means week four will be against Pittsburgh, so his return is likely.
Rick Wagner was limited in practice and would miss some time against New Orleans, so he should be 100 percent in his return. Matt Stafford is the main player to see how he rebounds after the bye week. He seemed off in Minnesota, banged up in Carolina, and dismantled in New Orleans. He deserves this break and hopefully, with some rest he can recover and get back to what he was like in week three against Atlanta.
TJ Lang was a last-minute inactive for Detroit in week six. Something flared up in his back and it caused him to miss the game. He has been limited in practice and has taken days off before. This bye week gives him time to calm that back and return.
There has been no injury update to Glover Quin. He would be taken out of the game after a brutal knee to the head from teammate A’Shawn Robinson during a tackling play. If he enters concussion protocol, this time off can give him time to recover and possibly play.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2017
Now one player who won’t return healthy is Golden Tate. As Ian Rapoport reported, an MRI will tell the full story and as of right now, there is no update on Tate, but even with the bye, he will most likely miss time.
Sam Martin And Taylor Decker Could Return
Now one player that I didn’t bring up was left tackle, Greg Robinson. He was seen in a walking boot after the Saints game and losing him could be big.
Unless Taylor Decker returns.
Taylor Decker is on the PUP list and is eligible to return to the team this week. Coach Jim Caldwell told reporters that he had no update for Decker and with the bye week happening, there is no point in activating Decker this week. Decker could be activated and practicing next week, which would be huge for the Lions offensive line.
Sam Martin has been on the NFI list, and like the PUP list, can be activated this week, but as reasons stated above that won’t happen. Detroit’s punting game hasn’t been horrible with Jeff Locke, so there isn’t a big need to rush Sam Martin back, but having him back could still help the team.
The Schedule Gets Easier
The tough part of the schedule is done for Detroit. Through six games, their opponents record is a combined 18-16. Now while that is barely over .500, it is still a winning record. Going into week six, Detroit’s next 10 opponents have a combined record of 21-25.
They come back taking on a Pittsburgh Steelers at home in primetime, you know that Ford Field will be rocking and give the Steelers problems, as they already do on the road. They still have to play Green Bay two times, both possibly without Aaron Rodgers (more on that soon). Cleveland is still Cleveland and struggling to find their first win of the season, Detroit shouldn’t have much trouble with them.
Chicago seems to have new life with Mitchell Trubisky and that should keep Lions fans on edge. Also, having one more game against Minnesota, even with Teddy Bridgewater returning, at home is big.
Baltimore and Cincinnati are having troubles on offense and Tampa Bay is dealing with a banged up quarterback as well in Jameis Winston. Detroit can still win enough games to at least end with an 8-8 record, but we all know that isn’t what the fans want.
The Division Is Anyone’s Race
With Green Bay looking strong, Detroit crumbling, Minnesota starting to regain ground, and Chicago growing up it seemed that Green Bay had this division locked up again.
Until Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone.
Now it’s anyone’s division to lose. Losing Rodgers is a big blow to Green Bay, causing them to lose to Minnesota in their week six matchup. Their 4-2 record is a good help for a team that has some tough games ahead of them.
Minnesota is starting to regain control of their team with Dalvin Cook out with an ACL tear and Bridgewater returning, they currently are in first place with the tiebreaker over Green Bay.
Chicago seems to be able to play offense with Trubisky, and with a stingy defense already, they could be a sleeper in the division.
Then there is Detriot who has the black plague attacking their team in injuries and on a well-deserved bye week where players get time to rest and the team can look at what isn’t working and what is and rebound for the final 10 games.
This division could have anyone winning, and while that is a good thing, it’s also a bad thing.