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Ndamukong Suh: Detroit Lions still in playoff race

The Detroit Lions' latest division loss to the Green Bay Packers is the one that probably knocked them out of reasonable playoff contention. They have too many teams to climb in front of in the NFC.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh just doesn't see it that way.

"We're still in the race," Suh said Tuesday, via the Detroit Free Press. "We made it a lot tougher than we did last year. It's a tough position to be in, but it's a hole that we dug ourselves in, and it's something that we need to take care of if we want to get to the next level.

"This is a great way to get out of the hole and make some noise. People always say if you want to win a championship, this is the time to get hot."

There is some precedent. The Lions made the playoffs at 9-7 in 1997. The difference this year is that Detroit is 0-4 in the NFC North and simply is buried behind too many quality teams in a deep NFC field. Oh, and the schedule is brutal.

The Lions will have to beat the 9-1 Houston Texans on Thanksgiving to win their first Thanksgiving game since 2003. The team hasn't had back-to-back winning records since 1994 and 1995.

Coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew have changed the culture in Detroit, but the Lions aren't consistent winners yet.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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