INDIANAPOLIS – As the Lions head into the final month of the regular season, maintaining consistency over the rest of the way is something Detroit still is trying to achieve.
Detroit won its season opener before losing three straight one-possession games.
Following a Week 5 bye, the Lions won three of the next four games to move their record to 4-4.
With playoff hopes restored, Detroit suffered three straight losses, including back-to-back home defeats by a total of seven points.
Last Thursday, the Lions could not hold a 10-point, second-half lead in falling to Houston in overtime, 34-31.
The loss came a week after Detroit fell, 24-20, to Green Bay.
The string of defeats has the Lions currently on the outside of the NFC playoff picture, but the team is continuing to put up major offensive numbers.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford attempted 61 passes against the Texans and threw for 441 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Stafford leads the NFL with 3,429 passing yards, and his 488 attempts are 32 more than Tony Romo of Dallas.
All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson only has four touchdowns on the season, but his production has not dropped off.
Johnson has 73 receptions on the year, and his 1,257 receiving yards are 152 more than
Detroit has eight different receivers who have caught at least 21 passes this season, contributing to an offense ranked second in the NFL at 412.9 yards per game.
The Lions have scored at least 20 points in their last five games.
Defensively, the Lions have an impressive front four led by end Cliff Avril and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The defensive line has accounted for 23 of the team’s 25 sacks, with Avril, a Purdue product, leading the group at 7.5 sacks.
2012 Record: 4-7, fourth in the NFC North.
Head Coach: Jim Schwartz, fourth season as Lions head coach (22-38 overall).
2012 NFL Rankings: Offense – Overall, 2nd (412.9); Rushing, 24th (100.5); Passing, 1st (312.5) Defense – Overall, 13th (343.8); Rushing, 21st (122.4); Passing, 12th (221.5).
2012 Leading Passer: Matthew Stafford (296-488 comp., 3,429 yards, 60.7 pct., 14 TDs, 10 INTs, 82.9 rating).
2012 Leading Rusher: Mikel Leshoure (136 carries, 534 yards, 6 TDs).
2012 Leading Receiver: Calvin Johnson (73 receptions, 1,257 yards, 4 TDs).
2012 Leading Sacker: Cliff Avril (7.5).
2012 Turnover Breakdown: -7. (tied for 25th).
2012 NFL Draft Results: The Lions selected Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff with the 23rd overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, and he has started five games this season. In the second round, Detroit chose wide receiver Ryan Broyles. After suffering an ACL injury last year at Oklahoma, Broyles has recovered with 21 catches for 307 yards over the last six games. Detroit went to the defensive side of the ball with its next two picks. In the third round, cornerback Bill Bentley was chosen by the Lions and was placed on injured reserve on November 1 with a shoulder injury.
Defensive end Ronnell Lewis from Oklahoma was taken in the fourth round.
2011 Review: The Lions ended a playoff drought dating back to 1999 with a 10-6 record and earning an NFC Wild Card spot. In Jim Schwartz’s third season at the helm, the Lions improved by four wins from the previous year and it was Detroit’s first winning season since 2000. The Lions won their first fives games and then captured three of their final four to close out the season. Detroit jumped out to a 14-10 halftime lead in its Wild Card matchup with New Orleans, but allowed 35 second-half points in falling, 45-28.
Last time in Playoffs: 2012. Lost in the NFC Wild Card to the New Orleans Saints, 45-28.
Last time in Super Bowl: Never.
Super Bowl Championships: None.
2011 Pro Bowl Selections: Calvin Johnson WR.