Lions Still Holding Onto Playoff Possibility

Lions must win four of next five to even have slim chance of making post-season.

(ALLEN PARK) -- The Detroit Lions are pretty much down to their last chance.

Even in the NFC, where parity rules and even a 4-7 record is still good enough to keep a team in contention for a playoff berth, the Lions are skating on thin ice.

They have lost their last five games, six of their last seven and are in danger of slip-sliding their way to a fourth consecutive season of double-digit losses.

But coach Steve Mariucci is not going to give up on his team's playoff chances until they are absolutely dead in the water.

"That was our aim -- to make the playoffs -- and we're still headed toward that," Mariucci said. "As crazy as it is right now, we're not that far out of it. It's just because of the records in the NFC.

"We can work our way right back in it. We're only a game away right now, out of the wild card." The question is whether the Lions can do enough to get themselves out of the hole they have dug by losing their last five games.

Even to take the back door into the playoffs would require at least an 8-8 record. That means the Lions would have to win at last four of their remaining five.

The schedule, after consecutive losses to Jacksonville, Minnesota and Indianapolis, gives them a chance to play three other teams with losing records -- Arizona, Chicago and Tennessee -- but they also have Green Bay and Minnesota in back-to-back games Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.

And, to complicate matters, the Lions have struggled to win at home with four consecutive losses after beating Houston in the home opener Sept. 19.

Mariucci's theory is to take one practice, one week and one game at a time, and never mind what comes after that.

"The bottom line is winning and losing games," he said. "That's why we're here -- to win games, regardless of how we do it. Throwing, running, returning, intercepting -- whatever we've got to do to win a game, that's the bottom line."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's crazy. It's the one bright spot, knowing we've still got quite a bit to play for. However, it doesn't change the fact we've got to win and we've got to do it quick." -- Quarterback Joey Harrington on the Lions' motivation after losing five games in a row and dropping to 4-7 for the season but still having a shot at an NFC wild-card berth.

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