Wild Card Round IV: Lions beat playoff drought
The Detroit Lions are hosting their first NFL Playoff game since 1993. This is 2024. That's over a 30-year drought, so you can bet that there will be a wildly charged crowd sitting in Ford Field ready to cheer and applaud a coin flip. That is a dangerous environment for any visiting team, but the Rams roster is particularly susceptible to hostile playoff environments. This is a young team, and they have not been here before. Is this stage too big for the LA Rams rookies? Are these lights too bright for wide-eyed young NFL Players?
When the LA Rams traded former starting quarterback Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions, along with three draft picks, some viewed the exchanges as a player-for-player swap. But the Rams had to sweeten the purse to include three draft picks, including a first-round draft pick in 2022 and 2023. That swayed the Lions to trade veteran starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the LA Rams.
The Lions, amidst a total rebuild complete with a new GM Brad Holmes and new HC Dan Campbell, would only win three games, and finish the 2021 NFL season with a record of 3-13-1. But improvements would happen rapidly. The following season, the Lions would improve to 9-8, and just miss the NFL Playoffs thanks to the Rams controversial loss to the Seattle Seahawks. This year, the Lions needed no help, and won the NFC North Division outright.
The Detroit Lions will certainly be a huge test for the LA Rams. The young Rams roster traveled well against the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. But these same Rams seemed to struggle on the road against the eliminated New York Giants in Week 17. Do the LA Rams young players see this game as a challenge that will motivate them? Or will there be an emotional letdown after breaking a regular season losing streak to the 49ers? Stay tuned