As we go into the final game of the year, a must-win for the Bears, we get some perspective from the other side of the divisional match-up.
Divisional rivalries to end the season. To Goodell's credit, it is a great idea.
As we sometimes do, we traded some questions with Pride of Detroit, SBNation's Detroit Lions site, to get a feel for how they're doing after a season that didn't quite live up to their expectations. You can find our answers to their questions right over here. If you like keeping track of where the division is, follow them on twitter at @PrideofDetroit
1. In Schwartz's 4 years, he's only had the one winning season from 2011. Has this season put his job in jeopardy?
This season has certainly put him on the hot seat, but considering he was just given an extension last summer, it doesn't seem like he is in serious jeopardy of being fired after this year. Next year, on the other hand, will be make or break for Schwartz. He can't afford another mediocre season. Fans are already turning on him, and anything but a playoff appearance will be viewed as a failure next season.
2. Based on stats alone, offensive production doesn't seem to be the problem. In your opinion, what is the most relevant reason for the drop in record from last year to this year?
Offensive production from a yards standpoint isn't a problem. Scoring is, though. The Lions have just been very inconsistent this season when it comes to actually finding the end zone. Jason Hanson is close to achieving a career high in points scored, which pretty much tells you that he has been relied on too much. The offense has had a huge problem with settling for field goals, and it is a big reason behind their 4-11 record.
3. The Lions seem to have something decent going with Leshoure and Bell in the backfield. Do you see them staying as the backs going into next year, or do you think the team will try to bring another guy in through the draft.
Bell and Leshoure have definitely been a pleasant surprise, and I feel pretty good about the Lions' depth at running back going into 2013. I do think there is a need to add a home-run threat like Jahvid Best. I doubt that Best will ever actually return given his concussion issues, but the Lions could certainly use a speedy player like that who can make plays as a runner and a receiver.
4. Speaking of the draft, put on your GM hat. What key areas would you try to address in the 2013 draft?
The main three positions where the Lions need help are defensive end, safety and cornerback. The Lions will likely lose Cliff Avril to free agency, and Kyle Vanden Bosch could be a candidate to be cut given his contract. Since the Lions are expected to have a relatively high draft pick, I could see them using it on the top defensive end on the board. They will also need to give a serious look at improving their secondary. The Lions are likely going to try to re-sign both Chris Houston and Louis Delmas, but even with them back there would be a lack of depth at both cornerback and safety. The Lions need to shore up their defensive backfield in a big way.
5. What do the Lions need to do to ensure that they keep the Bears out of the playoffs?
First and foremost, they have to not turn the ball over. That killed the Lions in their first matchup with the Bears this season. They also need to make sure solid drives are converted into touchdowns instead of field goals. You can't leave points on the field. Finally, the Lions need to pressure Jay Cutler and bring him down when they have the chance. The Lions are prone to breakdowns when quarterbacks have an opportunity to improvise, and Cutler seems especially capable of making them pay.
BONUS QUESTION - 2 parts
a. How much joy does it fill you with to watch Calvin Johnson play for your team?
Let's put it this way: Years from now, we will be able to look back on 2012 and not remember the Lions' failures, but instead we will think back about Megatron's insane season. He has given fans something to look forward to even though the playoffs have been out of the picture for quite some time.
b. If Rex Grossman had Calvin Johnson, do you think he could have thrown for 4,000 yds?
Considering Johnson managed to have 1,331 yards receiving during the 0-16 season with Dan Orlovsky lining up under center most of the time, I think it's safe to say he can make any quarterback look good.