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Calvin Johnson is going to have to find a way to shake double coverages down the stretch
The Lions have not had it easy the past three weeks. First, they were shown up on their home turf by the Packers on Thanksgiving Day, the same day they lost Ndamukong Suh to a suspension for stepping on another player in the pile.
Then, they were slated against the Saints, where they were simply overmatched on defense, and promptly fell to Brees' passing attack.
Finally, they found themselves in a comfortable situation against the Vikings after their defense scored twice to give the Lions an insurmountable lead. Somehow, the Lions let the Vikings back in the game, and narrowly escaped with a win.
Detroit's record sits at 8-5, and a couple things need to happen for them to make the playoffs for the first time since Barry Sanders carried the Lions.
First of all, they need to find a way to get Calvin Johnson out of double and triple coverages. Second, they need Kevin Smith to stay healthy so they have some sort of rushing attack.
Defensively, the Lions will get Suh back this week for their contest against the Raiders. Depending on whether Denarius Moore returns to the lineup, the Lions should be able to handle Oakland early and often. Matthew Stafford needs to continue his Pro Bowl-caliber season down the stretch.
The most interesting scenario we could see in Week 17 involves the Lions and the Packers, for two reasons: First of all, if Detroit somehow finds a way to lose to either the Raiders or the Chargers, they could be playing for their playoff lives, much like the Packers did last season against the Bears.
Second, the Packers could be playing for infamy.
I think the Lions will roll in the next two weeks and clinch a playoff spot before they play the Packers.