Detroit in Control of Own Destiny to Host First Playoff Game Since ’93

The Detroit Lions notched another come from behind victory with under a minute remaining, needing another clutch Matthew Stafford drive to top the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings 22-16 in a thrilling overtime game.

With the win, Detroit moves to within just a half game of the struggling Vikings and are in the driver’s seat in the NFC North with a chance to host their first home playoff game in over 20 years. After a concerning 1-3 start to the season, Detroit is in control of their own postseason destiny after upsetting the Vikings.

The floundering Vikings hold just a slim half game lead in the NFC North over the Lions after falling to 5-3, but they still will have to travel to Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit hosts their three remaining divisional games at Ford Field.

A home sweep of their three divisional foes would all but secure a spot in the postseason for the second time in three years under head coach Jim Caldwell.

Detroit is off this coming week with a bye, giving them a much needed week to rest up and get healthy for this last leg of the season. Starters DeAndre Levy, Darius Slay, and Riley Reiff are expected to return in the next couple of weeks, along with tight end Brandon Pettigrew making his way off of the unable to perform list.

After getting hit with the injury bug early on in the season, the Lions are looking like the healthiest team in the division heading into the season’s final two months.

Minnesota is struggling with four starting offensive linemen out. Green Bay has been without parts of their secondary and running back James Starks, and their offense has looked out of sorts for the majority of the season. Chicago is spiraling downward to what looks like yet another top-10 draft pick.

It’s still not enough to go out on a whim and put full confidence in the Lions because anyone who is a Lions fan knows exactly how it goes. While they have come from behind in all five of their victories, their magic dust is bound to run out at some point. However, they do have one of the best, if not the best late-game quarterbacks in the league, and a defense that has stepped up in pivotal moments of games.

With Detroit in control of its postseason hopes and coach Caldwell trying to retain his job, they need to maintain their edgy underdog-like mentality. Expect very cautious optimism, as it will be interesting to see how the Lions handle the pressures of raised expectations with a potential playoff berth in the near distance.