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Detroit Lions

Three takeaways from the Detroit Lions final game of the 2018 season, defeating the Green Bay Packers 31-0 and finishing 6-10

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1. With Jim Bob Cooter now gone, it is time to consider what options are available

With the announcement that Jim Bob Cooter will not return next season, it is time for the Lions to consider who will replace him. There have been names that have been rumored, but there is plenty of time for this decision to be made. It will be interesting to see who takes this position because there will be a lot of pressure on them considering the Lions have been waiting to see a consistent offense since Scott Linehan left.

2. This was the best the offense has looked all year

Even with this being Cooter’s last game as offensive coordinator, this was the most fluent this offense has looked all season. Even with all the injuries they had, they were still able to move the ball down the field easily and efficient all game. Now, even though Green Bay’s defense was depleted as well, to see how Matthew Stafford was effectively able to move the chains was a positive sight for Lions fans to see going into next season.

3. The defense closed out the year on a great note

The Lions defense was one of the bright spots in the 2nd half of the season. After the Damon Harrison acquisition, there was a different feel about the defense. Their run defense improved drastically and the pass defense started to really find its way too. Going into next year, expect head coach Matt Patricia fill out the defense to more to his type of guys.

Even though this game didn’t have much meaning behind it, it still was a pretty positive way to end an overall disappointing season for the Lions. A shutout against a division rival is always a good victory for a team. Also, this victory over the Packers gives the Lions a 4-0 record against their divisional foe over the last two years. With things being shook up this offseason, it will be intriguing to see what next year holds in store for the Lions next year.

Detroit Lions

Three takeaways from the Detroit Lions 27-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, giving them 10 losses on the season

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1. For some reason, the Lions struggle with the hail mary pass

With halftime approaching, the Lions decided to give the Vikings the ball with 36 seconds left. In 34 seconds, the Vikings were able to get the ball in position for a hail mary to the end zone. Even with Kenny Golladay playing way back, the Vikings were able to capitalize on the deep pass and take the lead going into halftime. This completely changed the momentum in this game in favor the Vikings and it showed all 2nd half.

2. The Vikings absolutely dominated the 2nd half of this game

The Vikings shut out the Lions in the 2nd half. Along with that, they scored 13 points and helped pull away from this game. Their dominance in the 2nd half just showed that the Lions didn’t have a chance of coming back after that hail mary to close out the 1st half.

3. This game just emphasizes how much Jim Cooter needs to go

Getting shut out in the 2nd half and unable to score a touchdown in the entire game just concludes that offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter needs to be gone at the end of the season. Even though Matthew Stafford requested that he come back for this season, that seemed to be a mistake because Cooter has struggled to figure out this offense anytime an injury happens. 

This game didn’t really mean much for the Lions while this game meant a lot for the Vikings. This clearly showed in the 2nd half as Minnesota was able to shut down any chance of a Lions comeback. The Lions close out the season in Green Bay against the Packers and due to this being a divisional game, expect all the starters to still play this game. In conclusion, the Lions are now competing to see if they can end up with a good 1st round pick.

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AFC

Three takeaways from the Detroit Lions’ ninth loss of the season to the Buffalo Bills 14-13, ending any chance of finishing the season at .500.

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1. Mike Ford got picked on all game

Throughout the game, when the Bills would be able to move the ball down the field and get pass completions, Mike Ford would usually be the guy who would be guarding the receiver. Two plays in particular come to mind. First play was during a scoring drive for Buffalo when Josh Allen was able to complete a 28 yard completion to Robert Foster with Ford guarding him. The next play, Buffalo goes deep to Foster again, Ford draws a 43 yard pass interference penalty. This ultimately led to a Bills touchdown. Ford hasn’t really been good any time he has had a chance to play for the Lions, but that is due to lack of depth at the cornerback position.

2. Andy Jones looks to make his way onto the roster

Since the Lions were so thin at wide receiver, Andy Jones got a chance to play at that position for the Lions. He was able to get a touchdown during his play on a pretty good catch. Along with that, he was actually able to get open on the play, which is something Lions receivers have a tough time doing. Then, on the next kickoff, Jones was able to contribute to special teams as he made the tackle before the 25 yard line. Jones is somebody to take notice to as the season ends as he tries to contribute on all facets of the game.

3. A missed extra point was the deciding factor of this game

The Lions ended up losing by one point in this game and this was because of a missed extra point. After a botched play overall due to a bad snap and mishandling of the ball, this play ended up summing up the Lions season perfectly. This loss essentially eliminates any chance the Lions had of making the playoffs and now they see where they end up for the draft.

Overall, this was a game the Lions could’ve won, but their inability to score points hurt them the most. It is yet to be determined what offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s status next season is, but the inability to score over 20 points in the past four games directs all signs that he should be gone. The Lions last two games are against divisional opponents so it will be interesting to see if the starters still go out there to finish the season.

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Arizona Cardinals

Three Takeaways from the Detroit Lions road victory against the Arizona Cardinals 17-3, somehow keeping their playoff hopes alive

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1. Zach Zenner showed up to play this week

Late in the game, Zach Zenner got a few series at running back and he made an immediate impact. He helped the Lions drive down the field and score their only offensive touchdown of the game. Not only did he do that, but he helped ice the game by getting first downs late in the 4th quarter. Zenner finished with 54 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. 

2. Jarrad Davis was all over the place on defense

Davis is really starting to get in his zone on defense. He was breaking up pass plays, stuffing the run, and even got himself a sack in this game. Davis finished with eight tackles, one sack, and pass deflection. Throughout his first two years in the league, Davis is improving week by week and it is a great sign of things to come at linebacker for the Lions.

3. The offense continues to struggle each week while the defense has improved each week

If it wasn’t for Zenner’s spark and Darius Slay’s interception for a touchdown, the rest of the Lions offense was only able to manage three points. While fans should understand that the offense will struggle due to injuries, etc. it shouldn’t be as bad as it is. Stafford only threw for 101 yards because every pass was short and everybody struggled to get open. As long as Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson are still on the sidelines, there is nothing really positive going for the Lions offense.

With this victory, the Lions still somehow have a chance to make the playoffs. While they will need lots of help from other teams, the possibility is still there. Now, this victory wasn’t against a very good Cardinals team, but the defense still looked really good and was a major factor in the Lions winning. With three games left in the season and two of those being divisional games, it will be very interesting to see where the 2018 season pans out for the Lions.

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