NFL Rumors: 3 teams that need to sign Justin Houston for playoff push

The Carolina Panthers waived Justin Houston, clearing the way for him to sign with a contender for the postseason.

Justin Houston, Carolina Panthers
Justin Houston, Carolina Panthers / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Detroit Lions can add veteran LB help with Justin Houston

Of the top-line contenders, the Detroit Lions probably need the most help on defense. Detroit ranks 24th in the NFL in sacks (30.0), and their inability to put pressure on the QB is a sizable red flag when projecting toward the postseason. It will take more than signing Houston to fix the Lions' problems, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

It doesn't feel like it, but Detroit still has a clear path to the NFC's No. 1 seed. It would require a stumble from the Niners, but neither the Eagles nor Cowboys are inspiring much confidence after Week 15. The Lions are 10-4, one game behind San Francisco and tied with Philly and Dallas. If Jared Goff and the offense can muster a few more performances like Sunday's — a 42-17 trouncing of the Denver Broncos — the Lions could be sitting comfortably once the postseason arrives.

That should be enough to capture Houston's interest. He would have the chance to contend in a winnable NFC, and the Lions represent potentially his biggest opportunity to make a tangible impact. Detroit's current OLB starters — Derrick Barnes and Jack Campbell — have a combined two sacks and four years of NFL experience between them. Houston is a veteran mentor who could recapture old magic and step into a productive, immediate role for Aaron Glenn's defense

One would expect Houston to have his pick of contenders on a short-term minimum contract. There's essentially no risk to signing him. The Lions would have to work hard to stand out from the field, but we cannot ignore how potent Detroit's offense is, and how far that could get them in the postseason. If Houston feels he can improve the defense to supplement that elite offense, the Lions have a chance.