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Although it wasn’t quite a playoff game, the Detroit Lions are hoping to build off the momentum of their final game from the 2022 season. Expectations haven’t been so high in Detroit when heading into an NFL season. That’s all changing as the 2023 season approaches.

The Lions ended last year with a 9-8 record, just missing a playoff berth on the final week of the season. Detroit did, however, manage to knock the rival Green Bay Packers out of the playoff hunt by heading into Lambeau Field and walking away with a 20-16 victory in Week 17. The Lions can taste the playoffs, something they haven’t achieved in seven years. A playoff victory by the Lions, however, hasn’t happened in decades.

The Detroit Lions last made the playoffs in 2016

Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2023, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. | Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

The 2016 season started out just like most others for the Detroit Lions — not very promising. Although they outlasted the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener 39-35, they dropped the next three games on the schedule.

Under head coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions then turned things around, winning three straight and eight of their next nine games. During that three-game win streak, the Lions never won a game by more than a field goal. While they weren’t blowing anyone out, they were winning the close games, something that hadn’t been the case in recent years.

Despite finishing the season with three straight losses and giving up a combined 73 points in their final two games, the Lions finished 9-7 and qualified for the postseason.

Detroit traveled to face the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs and struggled mightily, falling 26-6.

The Lions won their last playoff game in 1992

You have to go back 32 years when the Lions won their last playoff game. During the 1991 season, the Lions won the NFC Central Division, finishing the regular season with a 12-4 record and one game ahead of the Chicago Bears.

The Lions hosted the Dallas Cowboys in a Divisional Round playoff matchup and made quick work of the Cowboys. Led by three touchdown passes from quarterback Erik Kramer, the Lions cruised to a 38-6 victory. Kramer finished the game by completing 29 of 38 passes for 341 yards as the Cowboys defense kept star running back Barry Sanders in check.

Sanders rushed 12 times for 69 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that accounted for the game’s final score.

Detroit advanced to the NFC Championship game and took on the Washington Redskins (now known as the Washington Commanders). The Lions had no answer against Washington and fell 41-10.

Since then, the Lions have been without a playoff victory. Lions fans, however, have plenty of hope that will change in the very near future.


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