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DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions continue to be favored in games against struggling teams, and this week will not be different.

Detroit opens the week as a four-point road favorite over the Cincinnati Bengals, per Bovada.

The Lions have been taking care of business in recent weeks, topping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears to improve to 8-6. This week, they'll get a Bengals team that is 5-9 and lost to that same Bears squad 33-7 two weeks ago and then fell to the Minnesota Vikings 34-7 in a game that let Minnesota clinch the NFC North.

What's more, the Bengals could be playing their final home game under Marvin Lewis. ESPN reported Sunday that the head coach plans to move on from the Bengals after 15 years as their coach. Lewis denied that report Sunday.

Whether that leads to a more emotional showing or increased readiness for the offseason remains to be seen. The Bengals have taken their lumps since a physical loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, though they also boast a talented roster that was a playoff regular up until last season.

At 8-6, the Lions are pushing to reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. They'll need to win these final two games and receive some help, but that starts by taking care of business for another week against a struggling opponent.

Detroit is a dome team that has struggled in recent years to win in colder outdoor environments. That's what it can expect when it plays on Christmas Eve in Cincinnati, and it could be a reason why the spread is as tight as it is.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2017/12/detroit_lions_open_as_4-point.html

 

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the bengals have quit.

given their attempts to tackle during the bears game, i wouldnt be surprised if this is the game a lions rb breaks 100 yards...

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This game is annoying. It’s a game the lions should win, and a game that the lions probably will win. But even after they win, there will still be the underlying issue of needing other results to go our way. 

I can’t help but be focused more on the Green Bay game and the other games involving the nfc south teams. 

With Green Bay being eliminated I wonder whether Rodgers is going to play. I assume that he will. And I expect that to be a pretty tough game. 

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1 hour ago, Shelton said:

This game is annoying. It’s a game the lions should win, and a game that the lions probably will win. But even after they win, there will still be the underlying issue of needing other results to go our way. 

I can’t help but be focused more on the Green Bay game and the other games involving the nfc south teams. 

With Green Bay being eliminated I wonder whether Rodgers is going to play. I assume that he will. And I expect that to be a pretty tough game. 

GB just placed Rodgers on IR. 

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6 minutes ago, JAYB said:

GB just placed Rodgers on IR. 

I do not care about beating the team with the guy.  Just get in and play good ball for a month and have the opponents have a few bad weeks and boom!  

There were too many games this year we should/could have won that we left out there.  We should not even need any help to get in right now.  I have to admit it is a little cool to actually be in the hunt.  This is still a relatively rare feeling for Lions fans.

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I wonder if TJ Jones getting injured lowers his price. He is a great #4 WR, he is a free agent after this year.

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14 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

This game does not concern me from an injury standpoint, but I am not playing.

How long have you been following the Lions? I get injured just watching them at least 3 times a season.

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16 hours ago, John_Brian_K said:

I do not care about beating the team with the guy.  Just get in and play good ball for a month and have the opponents have a few bad weeks and boom!  

There were too many games this year we should/could have won that we left out there.  We should not even need any help to get in right now.  I have to admit it is a little cool to actually be in the hunt.  This is still a relatively rare feeling for Lions fans.

Yes, the Lions have nobody to blame but themselves if they don't squeak into the playoffs. But even as a 6 seed, how far would any fan realistically expect them to go? Beat Atlanta and Carolina and their chances would have been better.

But it's just as well you don't watch them. It's a waste of time rooting for the worst franchise in all of sports. Unless you were a diehard fan.

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3 hours ago, djhutch said:

How long have you been following the Lions? I get injured just watching them at least 3 times a season.

I use alcohol to numb the pain.

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I do hope that they beat Green Bay.  I think it's still been like decades since they swept GB so that would be nice to check off one more box that the media can't bring up that the Lions haven't done since the people were dancing the jitterbug.

EDIT: Looked it up... 1991 was the last time the Lions swept GB.

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Realistically, did anyone think this team was any better than a wildcard / fringe-y division winner going into the season?  Alternately, I remember 538 predicted 10-6 and based on most predictions leading into the season, 10-6 was viewed to be optimistic.

Alternately, part 2. Let's be real about this team. Ignore, for a moment, the historic lack of play-off success this franchise has had and look at this team for what it is. I see a team that is flawed in a way that prevents them from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their lines are not good enough and they do not have a running game.  At all.  And they don't have a dominant offensive or defensive unit to paper over the fundamental flaws.  Realistically the best you can hope for is a weaker play-off team in that scenario.

Please discuss if you disagree.

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3 minutes ago, RedRamage said:

I do hope that they beat Green Bay.  I think it's still been like decades since they swept GB so that would be nice to check off one more box that the media can't bring up that the Lions haven't done since the people were dancing the jitterbug.

EDIT: Looked it up... 1991 was the last time the Lions swept GB.

I could have told you 91 without looking it up.

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2 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Please discuss if you disagree.

Can discuss if I agree?  I think most of us would have welcomed a 10-6 season in August... Most of us, looking at the notable holes (Taylor starting on PUP, the DL in a very questionable state, serious questions at RB, TE, and Secondary) would have said a WC is best case scenario.

But... then we get off to a hot start.  The DL looks not only NOT a weakness, but actually a strength... we're beat teams that were projected to be good teams, and then Aaron Rodgers looks to be knocked out for the year... everything was coming up Lions.  Even out loss to the defending NFC Champs was nearly a win but for a questionable call (yes, I still like to delude myself at times) and then a stupid 10 second run off rule.

After the first quarter I think just about everyone was upgrading their opinion of the Lions season and thinking this the year for a North Division run... Rodgers out... Case Keenum leading the Vikings, some scrub in Chicago.  Who would have best against the Lions being, at the very least, right in the discussion for the NFC North title right up until the end.

So, yeah... in August I would have said 10-6 and a WC would be a nice season.  But in late December/Early October my opinions changed dramatically... only to shift again before November.

I supposed this is the point where we need to insert the Denny Green gif of him shouting: "They are who we thought they were."

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16 hours ago, John_Brian_K said:

I do not care about beating the team with the guy.  Just get in and play good ball for a month and have the opponents have a few bad weeks and boom!  

There were too many games this year we should/could have won that we left out there.  We should not even need any help to get in right now.  I have to admit it is a little cool to actually be in the hunt.  This is still a relatively rare feeling for Lions fans.

It's not rare at all, they made the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years. 

Agreed with the rest of your post, the Lions have nobody to blame but themselves.  It pretty much boils down to a matter of inches.  If Tate doesn't run a pattern just short of the goal line against Atlanta, this playoff race looks completely different.

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19 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Realistically, did anyone think this team was any better than a wildcard / fringe-y division winner going into the season?  Alternately, I remember 538 predicted 10-6 and based on most predictions leading into the season, 10-6 was viewed to be optimistic.

Alternately, part 2. Let's be real about this team. Ignore, for a moment, the historic lack of play-off success this franchise has had and look at this team for what it is. I see a team that is flawed in a way that prevents them from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their lines are not good enough and they do not have a running game.  At all.  And they don't have a dominant offensive or defensive unit to paper over the fundamental flaws.  Realistically the best you can hope for is a weaker play-off team in that scenario.

Please discuss if you disagree.

This has been the case for 60 years even in a good year.  I can't remember the last Lions team that was considered much more than a fringe playoff team.  Even the '91 Lions were nowhere near a Super Bowl contender. the '93 Lions were a mediocre division winner and the '14 team which might have been the best Lions team of the last 6 decades (as sad as that sounds) wasn't a Super Bowl contender so in other words, I do not disagree but what else do we have to root for?  I'd rather watch a Lions playoff game knowing that they'll probably lose than not watch a Lions playoffs game at all.

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1 minute ago, NYLion said:

It's not rare at all, they made the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years. 

Depends on your age and how long you've been following the Lions of course... I started really following in earnest probably about '93... so during the 90s 5 of 7 years making the playoffs... making the playoffs wasn't a big deal... just that they never won.

But if you started watching in 2000, then... well... 11 straight seasons without a sniff of the playoffs, then 3 of the next 6 years, all with a quick exit.   Even if we assume a playoff berth this year, that's still only 4 out of the last 18.

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15 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Realistically, did anyone think this team was any better than a wildcard / fringe-y division winner going into the season?  Alternately, I remember 538 predicted 10-6 and based on most predictions leading into the season, 10-6 was viewed to be optimistic.

Alternately, part 2. Let's be real about this team. Ignore, for a moment, the historic lack of play-off success this franchise has had and look at this team for what it is. I see a team that is flawed in a way that prevents them from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their lines are not good enough and they do not have a running game.  At all.  And they don't have a dominant offensive or defensive unit to paper over the fundamental flaws.  Realistically the best you can hope for is a weaker play-off team in that scenario.

Please discuss if you disagree.

10-6 with this team is a great record.  so is 9-7.

i am not disappointed in this season at all.  i think its a success even if they dont make the playoffs.  look, if they lose out on the playoffs to an 11-5 carolina and 10-6 falcons team that won the nfc last year, thats not bad, its bad luck.

the lions are flush with money after thisbyear.  get a pass rusher (or 3), another linebacker, a dt, and a running back and they may be pretty good next year.

use this time with stafford while you can.

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2 minutes ago, RedRamage said:

Depends on your age and how long you've been following the Lions of course... I started really following in earnest probably about '93... so during the 90s 5 of 7 years making the playoffs... making the playoffs wasn't a big deal... just that they never won.

But if you started watching in 2000, then... well... 11 straight seasons without a sniff of the playoffs, then 3 of the next 6 years, all with a quick exit.   Even if we assume a playoff berth this year, that's still only 4 out of the last 18.

I've been watching since I was a little tike in the late 80s, being a Barry Sanders fan was my introduction to pro football so I'm well schooled in the art of savoring every playoff run no matter how fraudulent.  I'm just saying it's not so rare in recent times for them to be in the hunt at the end of the season. Playoffs 2 of the last 3 season and '13 was the infamous chokejob when the division was right there for the taking so they've been in the hunt pretty frequently in the last 5 years.

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1 minute ago, NYLion said:

 I'm just saying it's not so rare in recent times for them to be in the hunt at the end of the season. Playoffs 2 of the last 3 season and '13 was the infamous chokejob when the division was right there for the taking so they've been in the hunt pretty frequently in the last 5 years.

Granted, but if you've been following since around 2000, even 4 playoff appearances is still relatively rare.

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10-6, with every loss coming to a playoff team, and every win coming against a non-playoff team, seems about right for a team that just misses the playoffs. 

This is not a good football team, unfortunately. They had the potential to be good, but they didn’t get the injury luck they needed. 

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