Detroit Lions need to be better than Sunday to win in playoffs

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In trying to explain what happened Sunday afternoon in Wisconsin, Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell and some of his players said that they faced a good team, which the Green Bay Packers no doubt are.

They also had to face the Packers on the road, which is never easy.

Except here's the problem for the Lions -- and here's why there should be concern for them for however long their season continues in the playoffs. The Lions are the No. 6 seed in the NFC, so the rest of the way they'll face good teams and they'll face them away from home.

"Whether we play at home or on the road in the National Football League, it's not easy," Caldwell said. "It's going to be a difficult task no matter who we play. But I think if we play well enough, we'll be right in there with them, regardless of who it is we line up against."

But why does Caldwell believe this year's Lions are that team?

"Because we've done it before," Caldwell said.

They did, but not against a team that will be joining them in the postseason. Of Detroit's 11 wins this season, the Lions beat only one team that finished with a winning record -- a 19-7 win against Green Bay in Week 3.

The Lions said over and over again after Sunday's 30-20 loss to Green Bay how a new season begins now, and sure, the playoffs are a completely different situation than the regular season. There's an issue there, though: Going on the road.

The Lions have gone on the road to four teams that also made the playoffs this season -- Carolina, Arizona, New England and Green Bay. They've lost those games by a combined score of 102-42. But when you ask the Lions if there is reason to be concerned that they haven't found an elixir against winning teams on the road this season, they didn't really have much of one.

They are, after all, playoff-focused now.

"No reason in particular. That's behind us now," linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. "Our focus changed to playoffs and we just got to go out there and play. Fix whatever mistakes we made and go out there and try to get the next win."

This is the same Lions team that continued the same themes they've had throughout the season: An offense that has very little consistency, a special teams group that makes as many good plays as it does questionable ones and a defense that continues to stay consistently good pretty much no matter the opponent.

This is who the Lions are, for good, bad and whatever happens in the playoffs.

"We had opportunities to win it and I feel like whoever we play, we have an opportunity to win it," guard Rob Sims said. "So my level of concern is not there. I really don't have one.

"We have to continue to get better, no doubt. We've dealt with some injuries. We've dealt with some things and we've just tried to keep on overcoming them and sometimes we come up short."

The Lions did Sunday, when they tried to win a division for the first time since 1993 and win in Wisconsin for the first time since 1991. The Lions can't come up short anymore because if it happens again, it will be the end of the team's season.

That hasn't happened yet, though, mostly because while Detroit has struggled against good teams, the Lions did win games they were supposed to throughout the year. And that's a large reason why the Lions will play at least one more game this season.

"Usually we walk out of here with a loss and that's it," Sims said. "We're talking about tomorrow's exit meetings and we're not talking that right now.

"We've got shots and I'm going to go take mine."

The Lions -- all of them -- just need those shots to be better than the ones they took Sunday.