NFL Playoffs 2019: Pretenders vs. contenders entering Week 6

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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NFL Playoffs
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

NFC No. 6 Seed: Detroit Lions – Conditional Contender

Though their 2-1-1 record doesn’t look all that impressive, there’s a lot to like about what the Detroit Lions are doing right now. Matthew Stafford and the offense have found new life utilizing a cast of underrated weapons. More importantly, though, the defense under Matt Patricia is looking quite Patriots-like in their platoon approach that leads to success — everyone’s doing their job and doing it well.

At a certain point, though, you are what your record says you are. Subsequently, before I start calling the Lions contenders, they’re going to have to pull away from a pedestrian 2-1-1 record with wins over good teams, not close losses to a team like the Chiefs. They’ll have that opportunity with matchups at Green Bay and vs. Minnesota looming in the next two weeks, which will certainly tell us more about who this Detroit team truly is.

NFC No. 5 Seed: Seattle Seahawks – Pretender

This was the designation that I struggled the most with. On one hand, Russell Wilson has made it exceptionally difficult to doubt him. Despite the offensive line again being mediocre at best, the quarterback is putting forth an MVP-worthy campaign so far in 2019, enjoying downfield weapons like Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf and succeeding with them despite the run game looking quite lackluster early on.

However, the defense and that disappointing run game is why the Seattle Seahawks landed as pretenders. The addition of Jadeveon Clowney has proven to be fine but far from game-changing and this team can be scored on, giving up at least 20 points in all but one game this season. With that and the rushing attack struggling, you have to believe that there’s only so much Wilson can do to keep his team afloat when they get to the NFL Playoffs.