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12/28/2018 6:57 am  #1

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. - This is exactly the type of stretch that might have derailed Detroits playoff hopes in recent years.Three straight home games. All against teams with losing records. With the pressure of the post-season race hanging over every play.We dont take any game lightly, running back Joique Bell said. Its hard to win games here in the NFL. Its the best players in the world.The Lions have won two in a row, beating Chicago and Tampa Bay by identical 34-17 scores. The victories helped Detroit keep pace in a tight NFC playoff chase, and whats even more encouraging for this franchise and its long-frustrated fans is the way the Lions won. Gone were the fourth-quarter deficits Detroit faced so often earlier in the season. Instead, the Lions controlled both games down the stretch, doing exactly what was expected of a team with so much on the line.There wasnt much drama. And so far, theres been no hint of a collapse like the one that cost Detroit a playoff spot last season. The Lions take on Minnesota next weekend in their last home game of the regular season.I think were a better team than we were last year. Guys went through that experience last year, safety Glover Quin said. If you cant lock in and buckle down for three weeks to make the playoffs, try to win the division, get a shot at a Super Bowl, then youre probably playing the game for the wrong reasons.The Lions (9-4) trail first-place Green Bay by one game in the NFC North. If they beat Minnesota and Chicago in their next two games, they will almost certainly make the playoffs in some fashion.Detroit put itself in solid shape for a playoff spot with close wins over New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami around midseason, but the Lions then lost at Arizona and New England to fall into a more tenuous position. This stretch of home games against Chicago, Tampa Bay and Minnesota loomed. All three opponents looked beatable, but Detroit had trouble taking care of games like these last year, when the Lions dropped six of their last seven to finish 7-9.Included in that slide were home losses against Tampa Bay and the New York Giants, both of whom finished below .500.We looked ahead, Bell said.The Lions were hoping for a better stretch run this year, and theyre on the right track. The victories over the Bears and Buccaneers werent total blowouts, but they were comfortable wins.Calvin Johnson, who missed a month this season with an ankle injury, is now back and contributing at his usual high level. Reggie Bush has also returned from his injury issues, although the Lions did say tight end Joseph Fauria will miss the rest of the season on injured reserve. He hurt his ankle against Tampa Bay.We kind of battled through some of those tough times in the middle of the season where we didnt have a whole lot of guys available to play, and now we are pretty close to a full stable, quarterback Matthew Stafford said. Its nice going into a game knowing you have options and knowing you have guys with experience and depth.The Lions finish the regular season with a tough matchup at Green Bay, so the pressure is still on for them to win these next two games against the bottom two teams in their division. They are favoured by about a touchdown against Minnesota, and although the matchup with the Bears is on the road, Detroit did win at Chicago last year.This week in particular, a loss would be a surprise — the type of result that would get a lot of attention around the league. The Lions wouldnt mind staying under the radar with another calm, quiet victory.To me, the month of December is why you put all the work in in the off-season, go through all the things that you go through early in the season, training camp, Quin said. You do all that stuff to be in a position to make a run in the month of December.NOTES: The Lions signed TE Kellen Davis. They also signed LB Jerrell Harris and WR Skye Dawson to the practice squad. Detroit announced that S Jerome Couplin was signed from its practice squad by the Philadelphia Eagles. Kirk Cousins College Jersey . - San Diego Padres centre fielder Cameron Maybin is going to be out two to three months after rupturing his left biceps tendon during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. Gary Harris College Jersey . "After consultation with the Team USA medical staff and officials, it was determined that he should return to Winnipeg as a precaution due to his previous injury history," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Wednesday in a statement. Today, well look at five frontcourt players today, here from the Bay Area. 1. AMIR JOHNSON (Raptors): I cant figure out what the issue or problem is, but based upon what Im seeing, hes not right. Cheap Michigan State Jerseys Free Shipping . But sometimes the way you lose takes precedence over the final score. And how the Jets lost the 5-4 game to the New York Islanders on Thursday is what had Coach Claude Noel hot after the game. Miles Bridges College Jersey . -- Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale searched more than three quarters for five guys who would play well together.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets reassigned defencemen Cody Goloubef and Tim Erixon to their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass., on Saturday The 24-year-old Goloubef has appeared in three games with the Jackets since being recalled from Springfield on Jan. 25 under emergency conditions. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound blueliner has six goals and 14 assists in 41 ggames with the Falcons this season.dddddddddddd He was the Blue Jackets second pick, 37th overall, at the 2008 NHL draft. The 22-year-old Erixon has registered four goals and 20 assists in 27 games with Springfield in 2013-14. He skated in two games for Columbus earlier this season. In 51 career NHL appearances with the Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, Erixon has seven assists. 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