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My job today is to break down the first half of the Lions season and help you make sense of it.

Here is the problem: The Lions do not make sense and whether this gang of Prince Charmings can keep it going is an impossible question.

History dictates they will not keep up this pace. The Lions are 6-2 at the break following another improbable victory, 22-21 over the Atlanta Falcons in jolly Old England. It was a game in which the Lions were left for dead, sort of like a week ago against New Orleans.

All Atlanta needed to do was run clock without stopping it in the final 1:50. But a holding penalty spoiled those plans.

A week ago quarterback Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:38 to stun New Orleans.

The two wins give the Lions one of the better records in the NFL, but they do not change the fact that this team is reeling and needs a bye more than anybody else in the NFL. The Lions are in trouble even though they sit in the catbird's seat in the NFC North along with Green Bay.

The Lions won with Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew watching from the sidelines. They overcame a 21-0 deficit although they played much of the game without Nick Fairley (knee) and C.J. Mosley, who was sent home for disciplinary reasons.

And here is another monster that faces the Lions: They are not a second half team. The Lions have not had a winning season the second half of a season since 1997 when they went 5-3. Since then they are 31-97.

Trouble ahead?

This season 10-6 is not a guarantee to get in.

Last season the Lions started 6-3 but won just one game the rest of the year, resulting in the firing of head coach Jim Schwartz.

My gut keeps telling me that this is not a good football team and it should fail again. However, there is something magical going on here and that old Honolulu Blue magic will push the Lions to a winning record.

And we will know pretty quickly after the bye if the Lions are ready to keep rocking. They host Miami, who is dangerous, and then play at Arizona and New England. If they survive without getting swept this team should make the playoffs.

Staying positive

Here are four reasons to be optimistic.

■ Schwartz panicked at the first sign of trouble. Head coach Jim Caldwell does not. He remains calm no matter how desperate things become. Players read that. If the coach believes a comeback is possible, so do the players.

■ Calvin Johnson (high ankle sprain) should be able to return to the lineup along with Reggie Bush and Brandon Pettigrew. Johnson is the key even if he does not return at 100 percent. He is the Lions' biggest playmaker and threat. You cannot judge the Lions offense until Johnson is on the field. If he is even 80 percent he should help boost an anemic offense.

■ The Lions play the Chicago Bears twice. Green Bay is the best team in the NFC North and will win the division. The second playoff team depends on who is better, the Bears or Lions. The Bears are a mess with a divisive dressing room and poor play on the field. Did you see how terrible they looked during a 51-23 loss to New England?

If that doesn't change, the Lions should win both games against their division rivals.

■ The Lions begin the second half coming off a bye week. They need a bye more than any other team because of injuries. That might not be enough for defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who left the field with a knee injury. It did not look good.

"This would have been a loss last year," former Lions defensive tackle Lomas Brown said. "The biggest thing for me now is how fast Jim Caldwell has been able to turn the coaching around here. They are not the same team. I am encouraged by the adjustments they are able to make at halftime. The glaring thing is nobody panicked and that seems to be the head coach. He is stoic and does not show panic no matter what is going on."

Now the cardiac cats rest and try to keep it going. The Lions should be able to overcome a bad second half history only because it does not make sense for a team that does not make sense.

tfoster@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/terryfoster971

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