Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Predicting the Lions
There are few experiences more traumatic and disappointing than being a Detroit Lions fan. I have experienced the basest of embarrassments with a 0-16 season and the heights of mediocrity with a 9-7 season. During all of that time I have only witnessed one playoff victory. The year was 1991. The Lions went 12-4 before blowing out those hated Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. Unfortunately, it was followed by a humiliating 41-10 defeat to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship game. It has been 20 years since the last playoff victory, 12 years since their last playoff appearance and they have never won a Super Bowl (modern football era). Yet, here I am looking forward to a new season.
Each year I look at the schedule and try to determine what type of outcome to expect. I read the articles and listen to the experts. Sadly, one of the experts is no longer with us. Lions’ beat reporter Tom Kowalski was a staple to my daily Internet reading agenda. His prose was witty and informative, his style gruff and intelligent. So it is with a heavy heart that I dedicate this year’s predictions to Tom’s memory.
September 11 at Tampa Bay
4-0 in preseason! Yes. The Lions are going to the Superbowl! Uh oh, there is no running game and the Lions score less than Charlie Sheen at church. Don’t worry though, Ndamukong Suh sacks Josh Freeman 7 times with the last hit actually decapitating the young quarterback. Lions win 19-6.
September 18 Kansas City
1-0! Horrible news- Ndamukong Suh is suspended for decapitation and is given an 8-game suspension. Great news- Javeed Best runs for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hooray for the running game! Lions win 35-21
September 25 at Minnesota
The Lions are 2-0! What?! Javeed Best tore his ACL? How did that happen? What?! That’s not even a Kama Sutra position?! Oh well, no running game again. Luckily Chris Houston intercepts Donovan McNabb 3 times and the Lions edge the Vikings 27-23.
October 2 at Dallas
3-0! How do I buy Super Bowl tickets? The Lions travel into the heart of evil- Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, cornerbacks Christ Houston and Alphonso Smith accidentally run into each other during practice, both are out indefinitely with concussions. Dallas 27-17.
October 10 Chicago (Monday Night)
3-1! One loss is nothing to worry about. Plus, this is Monday Night Football. The last time the Lions were on Monday Night Football an Olsen Twin threesome would have been illegal. The fans are pumped, the players are invigorated and Kyle Vandenbosch has the Lions second quarterback decapitation of the season. RIP Jay Cutler. Lions win 42-0.
October 16 San Francisco
4-1 and a home game against an easy team! Unfortunately the NFL suspended Kyle Vandenbosch 8 games for his decapitation hit. Also, Matthew Stafford is pulled in the 3rd quarter with tendonitis in his throwing shoulder. San Francisco 9-3.
October 23 Atlanta
4-2. Okay, we’re still on track for the playoffs. Stafford is out but Shaun Hill is ready to go. The Lions are penalized 17 times for 143 yards which is exactly 140 more yards then they were able to rush. Matt Ryan lights up the Lions’ depleted secondary. Lions lose 31-10. Fans rush to the online forums complaining that it is the lack of professional cheerleaders that is leading to the team’s demise.
October 30 at Denver
The Lions are now 4-3. Things are getting pretty depressing. Shaun Hill is injured. He apparently fell on his hand against Atlanta breaking four bones. He played through the pain and nobody knew of the injury until after the game. Drew Stanton is now the starting quarterback. Luckily they’re playing Denver and are able to squeak in a win. Lions win 28-27. TOIBW (Thank Orbson it’s the Bye Week)
Week 9 Bye Week
5-3! Sure we had some tough times in the first half but 5-3 is not bad. Suh will be back soon and Stafford is expected to start against Chicago. Plus, they have two weeks to prepare and rest. I need to start looking into the Super Bowl tickets again.
November 13 at Chicago
Stafford is back and the Lions put up 28 points in the first half. Unfortunately in the 3rd quarter defensive end Julius Peppers throws Jeff Backus through the air and onto Stafford who stays down holding his shoulder. Stanton comes in and throws two straight interceptions but the somehow the Lions manage to hang on 31-28.
November 20 Carolina
6-3! Ndamukong Suh is back! Stafford is still out with a “bruised shoulder” but Shaun Hill is able to come in and throw left handed. Not a great solution but better than Stanton, Hill is able to keep the Lions in the game. The game reaches overtime where Cam Newton is leading the Panthers downfield. That is until Suh gets angry and sacks Newton causing a fumble. Lions win 27-21. The memorial service for Cam Newton will take place the following Wednesday.
November 24 Green Bay
7-3! Awesome record, not so awesome NFL ruling: “We regret to inform the Lions organization and fans that Ndamukong Suh will no longer be allowed to play in the NFL. The strength and ferocity of Suh is unmatched. We fear for the lives of the other quarterbacks in the league and hereby ban Suh from the NFL.” There is a massive outcry which distracts the Lions from this week’s Thanksgiving Day game. Plus, the Packers are much, much better. Packers 38-3
December 4 at New Orleans
7-4! Suh is out but first round draft pick Nick Fairley is finally cleared to play. Sadly, he is not any good and is pulled within ten minutes. A rash of turf related injuries occur for the Lions who whimper out of New Orleans with only 3 points and a lot of beaded necklaces. Saints 35-3
December 11 Minnesota
7-5. Only 6 points in the last two games. What has happened to this offense? Luckily cornerbacks Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith are back and intercept Donovan McNabb three more times. Lions play well and win 24-13.
December 18 at Oakland
8-5. Being on the road against a mediocre Oakland team should mean good things. It didn’t. Half of the Lions’ team is on Injured Reserve, the other half has the flu. People suspect that Stafford may have more than a bruised shoulder. The most interesting part of the game is when Raider’s owner Al Davis expressed interest in trading for the Lions’ starting running back who is averaging 1.3 yards per carry. Raiders 17-13.
December 24 San Diego
8-6. Not feeling too good now. San Diego is on fire coming in and Green Bay is next. However, the Lions play awesome. 150 yards on the ground, 300 through the air and they forced 3 turnovers. That is what I’m talking about. Where did I put that info on the Super Bowl ticket lottery?!
January 1 at Green Bay
9-6! Already put a deposit down on my playoff ticket! If we beat Green Bay we are guaranteed a Wild Card spot, otherwise we need some help. Green Bay is 13-2 and resting all of their starters. However, it is really, really cold in Wisconsin in January. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson’s fingers freeze together and he drops 7 passes. Lions lose. Luckily through a series of tiebreaker rules, they grab the last playoff spot. Packers 27-17.
Wild Card Game at Philadelphia
Oh yeah, we’re in the playoffs!!! Oh no, we’re playing the Eagles. Matthew Stafford starts in a surprise move by head coach Jim Schwartz. He lasts three plays before going down on his injured shoulder. Surgery will be required. Still no rushing game, add a dozen penalties and poodle owner Kyle Vandenbosch was thrown out of the game early for pile driving Michael “Dog Killer” Vick into the ground. The season is over, the Lions lose. Well, there is always the Draft! Eagles 38-17.