HomeFootball DirtWill the Lions contribute to the 49ers' near misses?

Will the Lions contribute to the 49ers’ near misses?

Published on

spot_img

The Detroit Lions look vulnerable, but that’s about what we expected. Dan Campbell’s team, crafted from a mix of impact young players and savvy veterans, has carried the growing pains that come with a rise from 3-13-1 to the NFC championship game in just two years throughout the 2024 NFL Playoffs.

The San Francisco 49ers look vulnerable as well, and that’s more concerning. Saturday night’s comeback win over the Green Bay Packers proved Kyle Shanahan’s team could erase a late deficit — it was his first win in 32 tries after entering the fourth quarter trailing by five points or more. But it also proved the NFC’s top seed is flawed, from Brock Purdy’s early struggles with accuracy to the run defense that got torn up by Aaron Jones on its home turf.

That’s what makes this week’s NFC title game between the Lions and 49ers so compelling — and what keeps the Baltimore Ravens in the top spot as the penultimate weekend of the 2023 NFL season looms.

The Ravens didn’t allow a single offensive touchdown en route to a 31-10 dusting of the Houston Texans. Next up are the Kansas City Chiefs, who took advantage of the Buffalo Bills’ miscues to advance to a sixth straight AFC title game but serve as three-point underdogs in Maryland.

Here’s how the rest of the playoff field, and the 28 other teams in the NFL, sorts out behind them. These teams haven’t played since Week 18. Their hopes and dreams lie in the free agent marketplace and 2024 NFL Draft

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Washington Commanders
  4. Los Angeles Chargers
  5. Arizona Cardinals
  6. Tennessee Titans
  7. New York Giants
  8. New York Jets
  9. Atlanta Falcons
  10. Las Vegas Raiders
  11. Minnesota Vikings
  12. Jacksonville Jaguars
  13. Chicago Bears
  14. Denver Broncos
  15. Indianapolis Colts
  16. New Orleans Saints
  17. Cincinnati Bengals
  18. Seattle Seahawks
  19. Philadelphia Eagles
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. Miami Dolphins
  22. Cleveland Browns
  23. Dallas Cowboys
  24. Los Angeles Rams
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield played large chunks of the season like a top 10 quarterback, albeit against middling competition.

He’s earned a massive raise from someone this spring — but are teams going to be willing to take a chance on him in an offense that doesn’t feature Mike Evans?

Here’s how the rest of the playoff field, and the 28 other teams in the NFL, sorts out behind them. These teams haven’t played since Week 18. Their hopes and dreams lie in the free agent marketplace and 2024 NFL Draft 32. Carolina Panthers 31. New England Patriots 30. Washington Commanders 29. Los Angeles Chargers 28. Arizona Cardinals 27. Tennessee Titans 26. New York Giants 25. New York Jets 24. Atlanta Falcons 23. Las Vegas Raiders 22. Minnesota Vikings 21. Jacksonville Jaguars 20. Chicago Bears 19. Denver Broncos 18. Indianapolis Colts 17. New Orleans Saints 16. Cincinnati Bengals 15. Seattle Seahawks Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports 14. Philadelphia Eagles 13. Pittsburgh Steelers 12. Miami Dolphins 11. Cleveland Browns 10. Dallas Cowboys 9. Los Angeles Rams Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports 8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Baker Mayfield played large chunks of the season like a top 10 quarterback, albeit against middling competition. He’s earned a massive raise from someone this spring — but are teams going to be willing to take a chance on him in an offense that doesn’t feature Mike Evans? 7. Houston Texans CJ Stroud couldn’t keep the Texans’ upset train rolling, but 2023 was never the destination. Instead, Houston got proof of concept from a franchise quarterback and a young defense capable of coming together in big moments. Things should only get better from here. 6. Green Bay Packers Jordan Love made some grown up throws, but ultimately his regression back to “first year starter” doomed the Packers’ upset bid in Santa Clara. Even so, he’s loaded with a deep, young receiving corps and will have plenty of opportunities to rise up to expectations in 2024. 5. Buffalo Bills The opportunities were there. The Bills didn’t take advantage of them. Now they’ve got to shed a ton of salary cap commitments — restructuring Josh Allen’s deal will help — and make some key decisions on which veterans stay and which go after another tantalyzing and ultimately frustrating season. Al Bello/Getty Images Last week’s rank: 5 Kansas City carved up the Bills injury depleted defense to make it back to the AFC title game. The Chiefs face a bigger challenge in Baltimore, where a defense that held the Houston Texans to 213 total yards awaits. Opposing quarterbacks posted just a 74.6 passer rating against the Ravens this season — lowest in the NFL. Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports Last week’s rank: 3 Jared Goff’s two playoff starts as a Lion: 74.3 percent completion rate, three touchdowns, zero turnovers, 8.1 yards per attempt and a 118.5 passer rating. The difficulty will be ratcheted up against the Niners, but Green Bay may have given him a cheat code; targeting Ambry Thomas whenever possible. Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Last week’s rank: 2 The Lions will likely try to replicate Jordan Love’s roll-out offense in order to stifle the Niners’ pass rush — San Francisco went without a sack last week despite six quarterback hits. That may be a tough sell for Jared Goff, but it will be even more difficult if Chase Young can get back on track. The midseason arrival has only two quarterback hits and half a sack in his last four games. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Last week’s rank: 1 Lamar Jackson was responsible for all four of the Ravens’ touchdowns last week, putting in work to rewrite his postseason narrative. He could have afforded to be average after his defense limited the Texans to just 213 total yards. Doing that against a rookie quarterback is one thing; doing it to Patrick Mahomes will make Baltimore Super Bowl 58 favorites.

Latest articles

Phillies’ Ranger Suarez aims for 10th win in showdown against Rockies

Having Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation gives the...

Lions Exploring Kicker Options

Since the departure of Matt Prater following the 2020 NFL season, the Lions have...

Potential Trade Target: Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver Treylon Burks

Just about a year ago, the Titans expressed contentment with their wide receiver group...

The most recent news about the Steelers’ offensive line

The Steelers offensive line performed well in 2023, ranking ninth in sacks allowed and...

More like this

Potential Trade Target: Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver Treylon Burks

Just about a year ago, the Titans expressed contentment with their wide receiver group...

The most recent news about the Steelers’ offensive line

The Steelers offensive line performed well in 2023, ranking ninth in sacks allowed and...

Ravens Announce Multiple Front Office Promotions

Much like their roster and coaching staff, the 2023 Ravens saw their front office...