First the Browns, then the Bengals: The Lions are next in line to snap long postseason droughts

·2 min read

NFL teams like to come up with social media hashtags for each individual season. I’ve got a suggestion for the Detroit Lions for 2022.

#WeNext

The first weekend of the playoffs proved that anything can happen. The way the Lions finished the 2021 season indicates they can make their own “anything” destiny. The path for the Lions to snap what is now the NFL’s longest playoff victory drought is right there for the taking.

The Cleveland Browns showed it could be done in 2020. Cleveland had one winning season in 18 years, but they somehow managed to go into Pittsburgh and win a postseason game after the 2020 season. They did it with their head coach literally locked in his own basement due to COVID-19, too. It was their first postseason win since 1994, back when Bill Belichick was coaching in Cleveland.

The Cincinnati Bengals proved it on Saturday. Cincinnati snapped what was the NFL’s longest span of playoff indignity, capturing its first postseason win since the 1990 season by beating the Raiders. Two years ago the Bengals were 2-14, but Cincinnati showed a spark of what was to come by finishing the 2020 season by winning two of its final three games despite not having QB Joe Burrow. They built on it, won a division title and now have their first playoff victory since Dan Campbell was in middle school.

If the long-downtrodden teams in Ohio can do it, the Lions can too. Detroit will need some impact upgrades this offseason—both the Browns (Myles Garrett) and the Bengals (Trey Hendrickson) have top-shelf pass rushers that can ruin opposing offenses. But the groundwork is lain for the Lions to be the next team to taste real success for the first time in decades.

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