The Detroit Lions, despite their loss to the New York Giants, still have an 81.7 percent to make the playoffs, according to makenflplayoffs.com. The Green Bay Packers, though, are on their heels.
The Lions have done things the hard way all season.
They have set a modern-day record with eight fourth-quarter comeback victories this season.
Despite ranking 22nd in total offense (335.3) and 14th in total defense (346.6), the Lions are 8-2 since Oct. 2. On Sunday the Giants snapped Detroit’s five-game winning streak.
The Lions have held eight consecutive opponents to 20 points or fewer and allow an average of 20.4 for the season.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford, a Highland Park graduate, injured the middle finger on this throwing hand against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 11. He experimented with custom gloves to protect the dislocated finger and decided on a one-finger glove against the Giants.
He completed 24 of 39 passes for 273 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a 71.8 passer rating in the 17-6 loss to the Giants.
“Here’s a guy that’s been holding a football in his bare hand for years and years and years and, all of a sudden, he’s wearing a glove. Do you think there’s going to be a difference? I mean these guys aren’t any different than concert pianists. These guys aren’t any different than any other expert,” coach Jim Caldwell told reporters in Detroit on Monday. “There is a little difference. There is some adjustment that’s made there. It’s not a non-issue until he doesn’t have it off and doesn’t have it on anymore, so there are things. Now, can he perform with it? There’s no question he can perform with it.
The Lions rank 29th in rushing, averaging only 81.7 yards per game. Theo Riddick, their leading rusher with 357 yards and a touchdown on 92 carries, has missed the past two games with an injured wrist. The Lions rushed for only 56 yards against the Giants last week without him as rookie Dwayne Washington had 14 carries for 31 yards, Stafford had two carries for 13 yards and Zach Zenner had three carries for 12 yards. Zenner, though, lost a fumble in the end zone on his first carry.
Stafford ranks as the team’s third-leading rusher with 206 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries.
Cornerback Darius Slay is likely to miss Monday’s game after injuring his hamstring for the second time this season. He missed two games earlier this season with a pulled hamstring, which limited him in practice last week.
Slay re-injured his hamstring when he pushed off his right leg to tackle Odell Beckham on Sunday.
The Lions list Nevin Lawson, Johnson Bademosi and recently signed Asa Jackson as their top cornerbacks.