At 4-4 and in last place in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions certainly aren’t in the best of situations. They aren’t in the worst, either. At 1-3, the 2011 playoff team had to look itself in the mirror and figure out what was going on and they’ve scrapped their way back to .500 after beating Jacksonville on Sunday. That fight continues down the stretch, but with five home games remaining, quarterback Matthew Stafford sounds optimistic.
Matthew Stafford joined WXYT in Detroit with Valenti and Foster to discuss how he’s feeling about his Detroit Lions team at the midway point of the season, his offensive line, the Lions scrapping together victories in different ways, winning a game in different fashion and Detroit’s playoff hopes.
How are you feeling about this team at the midway point of the season?:
“Obviously you expect to win every game you play in, but after the 1-3 start, we had the bye and we felt we had an opportunity to get back to 4-4 at the midway point and play five of our last eight games at home. We know we have a big advantage when we’re at home, with our crowd and the way we play on our turf. It’s definitely a tough time getting back to 4-4, but guys pulled together and played great these last couple weeks.”
What did the offensive line do Sunday that impressed you?:
“The same thing they’ve been doing for a while now. I remember, I think back to the Philadelphia game, we played one of the best D-lines in the NFL, as far as talent and pass-rush goes, and gave up no sacks. Our guys have been playing really well, dominating the line of scrimmage the last month and a half. That’s what we need more and more of.”
Of the first eight games, how many would you say that you really felt this team put it all together?:
“I think we’ve different aspects of our team have played really well in a lot of different games, but the great thing about the NFL and the great thing about our team, it’s all about finding a way to win. You’re not going to play your best football every week, and you’re not going to match up as well against certain teams as you do others, but it’s about grinding it out.”
Was it satisfying to win in a different way, being able to grab the lead and having the running game put the victory away?:
“Absolutely. It’s great to be balanced like that. Throwing for 285, rushing for 150, that’s a pretty good formula. … We’ll get those guys touchdowns and let’s get on the board. That’s something we needed to capitalize on early in the season and didn’t do a very good job, and the last few weeks we did a pretty good job of it.”
The playoff situation is basically this: You’ve got to be better than Philadelphia, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Seattle, given your 4-4 record. Are you guys better than those teams?:
“It’s yet to be seen. Obviously, that’s why you play the games. You don’t sit there and pick the playoff teams at the beginning of the season on who’s got the best talent or who’s got this or that. You play the games to see what happens. That’s something that we’ve fought really hard to get back into that picture, and we’ll continue fighting to see what happens.”