Following a forgettable performance on Sunday in a 34-24 loss to Minnesota, the Detroit Lions sit uncomfortably at 4-5 on the season and now face slim odds to reach the playoffs for the second straight year.
Despite coming alive down the stretch to cut into Minnesota's lead, the Lions once again appeared slow and unprepared in quite possibly their most pivotal game of the 2012 season. The effort level across the board was so utterly disappointing that Sean Yuille of SB Nation's Lions blog, Pride of Detroit, thinks that the postseason may very well be a pipe dream at this point:
This game was just a complete failure from top to bottom for the Lions. The players didn't execute, and the coaches didn't seem like they had the team ready to play. Considering how important it was for the Lions to win, this is quite alarming. To show up completely flat in such a big game is just absolutely inexcusable, and considering the Lions are now 4-5 and have so many tough games left this season, you can pretty much close the door on the idea of them making the playoffs.
A stacked NFC playoff pool definitely won't help the Lions down the stretch, and neither will the fact that as many as eight teams in the conference currently have at least five wins to their credit. Detroit still has to face Green Bay twice before the year is out as well, in addition to a pair of brutal head-to-head games with both Houston and Atlanta, arguably the two best teams in the NFL. The Lions' 2012 campaign could have taken a huge step forward on Sunday with a victory, but now it appears Jim Schwartz's team will be treading water for the remainder of the year.