We don’t throw the term must win around much at Detroit Jock City but as it relates to the Lions on Monday Night Football, the term definitely applies.
The Detroit Lions host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football from Ford Field. It has been some years since the Motor City has hosted the Monday Night showcase. And it has been a couple of years since a regular season game has meant so much. Division lead, playoff position and coaching careers will probably be determined on the outcome of this game.
So how did the Lions go from comfortable division leaders to in desperate need of a win?
By losing three of their last 4 games.
To complicate matters, two of those loses came against conference opponents. That can be a deadly combination for a team looking to make the playoffs.
The Chicago Bears beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and pushed their record to 8-6. That temporarily gives them the NFC North division lead.
The good news: the Lions could retake the lead by winning on Monday. If they win they will take sole position of first place by virtue of head to head record with the Lions.
The bad news: a Lions loss will result in a fall into a third place behind Green Bay who also won on Sunday.
If the Lions loss they will find themselves contention for a wild card spot instead of a divsion lead. If they find themsleves in wild card contention they will need some other teams to lose to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Of the ten teams currently in playoff contention, the Detroit Lions own the tie breakers over just three of them. (Green Bay, Chicago and Dallas). Withe the stakes so high, at the end of the season fans will look at this game against the Ravens as the one that made or destroyed the Detroit Lions 2013 season.
So the bottom line is that the Detroit Lions must win on Monday Night Football. They will find it very difficult to make the playoffs if the if they lose to the Ravens. Additionally Jim Schwartz may find it difficult to keep his job.