In the NFL you are what your record says you are. The 2012 Detroit Lions are a very disappointing 4-12 and have earned the fifth pick in the coming NFL draft. That is a sever step back from the 10-6 (and in the NFL post season) they were in 2011.
First let us look at the wins. The Lions opened up the 2012 season with a victory over the St. Louis Rams who would wind up 7-7-1. They would go on the road to beat the 4-12 Philadelphia Eagles. The third win is probably the most impressive as they beat the 11-5 and playoff bound Seattle Seahawks. Their final victory would come on the road in Jacksonville, as they beat the 2-14 Jaguars.
Now let us turn our attention to the losses. It would seem the Lions had a chance to win every game they lost but two. The two they seemed to had no shot in were the Monday night game in Chicago (even though they lost by just six points) and the 28 point blow out loss at the Arizona Cardinals.
In all the Lions lost 12 times in 2012, and nine of them were by one score or less (if we count the eight point loss to San Francisco). Four of those losses were by a field goal or less, and three of those loses came after the Lions were leading the game at the two minute warning.
While losing 12 games in the NFL is horrible enough, the fact that the Lions went 0-6 against the teams in their division makes that mark even worse. Over the last two years the Lions are just 3-9 against their NFC North opponents. In the Jim Schwartz era of this team the Lions are just 5-19 against their divisional rivals. Twice now Schwartz has coached Lions squads who failed to beat a divisional opponent in a season.
The 2012 Lions season can be boiled down like this, when the Lions needed a touchdown to put a game out of reach they settled for a field goal. When the defense needed to make one more stop to secure a victory they could not come up with one. For the lack of one more play (on either side of the ball) and the Lions could have lived up to their 2012 expectations.