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Jim Caldwell: We can't be eliminated after three games

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After dropping to 0-3 Sunday night, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell tried to keep everything in perspective. His message -- no matter how predictable -- was that the Lions are not out of it yet.

"We do have 13 games left," Caldwell said, via The Detroit Free Press. "They're not handing out any trophies after three games and you can't be eliminated after three games. And I know there's all the stats that are out there about who does what at 0-3. I don't care about all that stuff. What I care about is trying to get better, and I thought we made a little headway."

Every game, all season

The problem is that Detroit heads to Seattle next week and then returns home for a matchup against the surging Cardinals. It's not until Oct. 18 against the Bears that they'll be considered a heavy favorite going in.

And while it initially seems surprising to see Detroit circling this pit, it shouldn't be. Teams with good position players sink all the time. The Falcons needed a head coaching change and a shot in the arm on defense before Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could be effective again.

Perhaps the most recent incarnation of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson needs to be rethought, or explored with better weapons to help Johnson find separation.

Caldwell is clearly trying to keep his team away from the stats surrounding 0-3. Only three teams since 1990 have made the playoffs after losing their first three games and none of them found their way to the Super Bowl. At 0-4, the number drops to just one team -- the 1992 San Diego Chargers.

Though no one will say it, this may not be the worst thing for Detroit in the long run. Stafford is only 27 and probably has a fine second act in him assuming Detroit can fix their leaky offensive line and continue to surround him with quality skill position players. Running back Ameer Abdullah was a good start.

But transcendent talent is hard to find outside of the top 10, and right now the Lions are headed that way in a hurry.

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