In Week 17, the Detroit Lions blew out the Chicago Bears, winning 41-10. This victory allows the Lions playoff hopes to stay alive, but despite winning seven of their last nine games, the chances are quite slim at this point. The Lions need the Seattle Seahawks to lose, and they also need to defeat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Currently, Detroit’s chances of making the playoffs sit at around 20%.
While a chance for a playoff spot is low for the Lions, it does not take away from the dominance that the Lions showed the Bears. In the first meeting between these two NFC North rivals, the Lions had to make a major comeback on the road, which resulted in Dan Campbell’s first road victory as head coach of the Detroit Lions. This time, the Lions had the chance to take on the Bears at Ford Field with a loud home crowd.
The major deciding factor in this game was the young talent of the defense. Aside from the first offensive drive for the Bears, the Justin Fields led offense was smothered by the Lions. Rookie pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson had another major performance, recording half a sack, recovering a fumble and intercepting Justin Fields. Sixth round draft pick James Houston also had a monster performance, recording three sacks and a forced fumble. Houston has been on fire since his first start against the Bills on Thanksgiving, recording 7.5 sacks since. Rookie Josh Paschal also had his first two NFL sacks against the Bears. This young pass rush is shaping up to be a defensive anchor in the future for the Lions. While there are still holes to fill in the secondary and linebacker spots, the Lions will have two first round draft picks and free agency to add to this very bright and young defensive core.
Coming off of the major loss to the Panthers, major changes needed to be made on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was able to make these changes, and this young pass rush responded.
The Lions are on the cusp of the playoffs in only the second year of the Campbell and Holmes regime, and they have plenty of resources to bolster up this roster during the offseason. Whether the Lions make the playoffs is up to circumstances largely outside of their control. While the playoffs would be a great accomplishment, the second half of this season has already proven to me that Campbell and Holmes are the future of this organization. Have faith and patience Lions fans, things are turning around.