Jim Caldwell expects Detroit Lions to be a playoff team again

By Rachel Wold

Mediocrity will not be accepted in the Jim Caldwell era.

The Detroit Lions have only appeared in two postseason matchups since 2000. Their most recent appearance was last season when they were defeated in the controversial wild card game against the Dallas Cowboys 20-24.

Speaking with a positive outlook for the Lions in 2015, head coach Jim Caldwell shared his lofty expectations for the upcoming season:

“We expect to be [a playoff team],” Caldwell said during his camp-opening news conference Sunday. “We must be a better team than we were last year. I came in last year saying it is right now and it’s a right-now business, and we haven’t changed in that regard (via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein).

“So, we’ve got to be better than we were last year. Period.”

The Lions ended the 2014 regular season 11-5 trailing just one game behind their NFC North rival Green Bay Packers. Prior to last year’s wildcard playoff game, the only other postseason game in over a decade came in 2011 where they were beat in the wildcard matchup by the New Orleans Saints 45-28.

Caldwell’s hope of the Lions making it to the playoffs in back-to-back years is something the team hasn’t done since 1993. During the span of 1993-1995, the Lions appeared in three wildcard games, where they lost each one.

Unfortunately, the Lions are one of a hand full of franchises to have never made a trip to the Super Bowl. Last year’s 11-5 record is the best the team has produced since 1991 when the team finished 12-4. In the history of the franchise, the Lions have won 11 games or more per season only four times.

Coming off of a somewhat successful 2014 season and seeing those 11 wins, we can understand where Caldwell gains his enthusiastic playoff outlook for 2015. For this to happen, however, the Lions will have to post a better record than their stout NFC North competition including the Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.

The team definitely has their work cut out for them this season.

Photo: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports