Clear your mind, take a deep breath and repeat after me:
The Detroit Lions should make the NFL playoffs this season.
Maybe it bears repeating: The Detroit Lions should make the NFL playoffs this season.
With a 6-2 record midway through their 16-game schedule, the Lions SHOULD earn their first postseason berth since 1999, when they lost to the Washington Redskins 27-13 in a wild card game.
These are the Lions, of course. The same franchise in which the 2007 squad opened 6-2 and proceeded to go 1-7 the rest of the way.
But this season's Lions bear no resemblance to that year's Lions. Remember Gus Frerotte at quarterback? It's a stretch, isn't it?
This year's club, however, is talented, mean and eager to continue playing well into January.
The road won't be smooth, however. After playing in Chicago Sunday, the Lions will meet undefeated and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay twice and take long trips to New Orleans and Oakland.
Normally, the Lions stink on the road. Remember, the team lost an NFL-record 26 games away from home recently.
But this season, Detroit has already won games at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Denver. The road doesn't seem to have as many spikes on it as of late for the Lions to ride over.
It can be argued the Lions beat some so-so teams up to this bye week and lost to the two good squads - Atlanta and San Francisco.
But wins are wins, no matter who they're recorded against. You don't get style points in the NFL.
Offensively, the Lions can be explosive one minute and a dud the next. With oft-injured running back Jahvid Best healthy, the offense can put up some yards and points.
But when he's sidelined, opposing defenses know the Lions will have to pass and defend accordingly. Often, it's not a pretty sight.
With rising star Matthew Stafford at quarterback and current star Calvin "Megatron" Johnson at wide receiver, the Lions' offense can be potent. It just needs to be more consistent.
Defensively, the Lions are relentless, ferocious and downright fierce along the defensive front, led by Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril.
As long as opposing teams don't run the ball a lot, Lions defenders can be tough to beat, especially with the team's ruthless pass rush. Just ask the Broncos and quarterback Tim Tebow, who suffered seven sacks in the game last Sunday.
With all this in mind, the Lions SHOULD make the playoffs.
If key players remain healthy.
If the team at least splits its remaining eight games.
If head coach Jim Schwartz can keep his players motivated.
The Lions haven't done anything yet. But with the team's new-found swagger, it COULD do something.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.