COMMENTARY: At the start of the season, I wrote an article on why the Lions would make the playoffs this year and so far my predictions are looking good. The 3-1 Lions are on their way to a successful season, and for a city that has been in desperate need of a break, it comes not a moment too soon. The Detroit Tigers are Central Division champs and on their way to another deep playoff run and our Detroit Lions just beat down the red hot Chicago Bears in Ford Field to finish up a fantastic September for their blue collar fans. What lies ahead for the Tigers could be historic, and I wish them the best, but this article is all about the Lions and what lies ahead for the second quarter of the NFL season.
The Lions face the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field this week where they have not won since December 15, 1991. They also have a 14-2 record over the last eight seasons, so the odds are not on the side of the Honolulu blue boys. Well, what is on our side is the fact that Detroit’s young revamped offensive line is currently #1 in protecting the quarterback. The rebuilt line should be the talk of the town having given up only three sacks so far this year. This coming from two first year starters, a back up right tackle, and just two veteran interior linemen. What they have done is help protect Matthew Stafford as he set the NFL passing record for most yards and completions for his first 50 games. In fact, he already has 1,000 more yards than Peyton Manning did at this point in his career, and he still has a game to go. Stafford will also get to add to that total against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Green Bay Packers are giving up 311 YPG this season. They have also missed that dominate pass rush they have been known for the last few years. I think its going to be a shoot out, but the Lions will add to their eight interceptions this year, even with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball, who believe it or not has looked almost human this year, and those turnovers will help them get that coveted Lambeau win and propel them to a 4-1 record.
Week 6 takes the Lions to the upstart Cleveland Browns and their quarterback of the future, a Michigan State product, Brian Hoyer who has led the Browns to consecutive wins and will probably go 3-0 as a starter after they host the Buffalo Bills this week. Their defense is sick and playing on another plain of existence right now. As a lifelong Detroit fan, I feel the pain of the Browns’ fans, but they will have to face facts and realize they’re a few years away still. Sorry, Dawgs. The Lions young offensive line will give Matthew Stafford time to pick the Browns apart. Hoyer will have to do the same, but I’m sorry, Cleveland, he’s not there yet and Jordan Cameron is not Calvin Johnson and never will be. In the end, I think that this game ends up being a blow out and the Lions show that they can win the games they are suppose to win on the road and finish strong to move to a 5-1 record.
In week 7 the Lions will host the Cincinnati Bengals who have a legitimate defense but are really banged up in the secondary to say the least. This is one of those swing games I can see going either way. The Lions will have to get pressure on Andy Dalton while at the same time stopping the two headed running attack the Bengals are utilizing now. I think this comes down to who is healthy and who wants it the most, but as it sits right now, I have to go with the boys in blue. This is when all those so called experts will begin saying that they had the Lions as their dark horse all along, how the discipline of the defensive and offensive lines has turned the tides or how this is all due to the exceptional leadership of Matthew Stafford and all the extra time he put in this offseason. Whatever steaming pile comes out of their mouths will be worth it just to hear the words Detroit, playoffs, contenders, and dare I say the “C” word? CHAMPIONSHIP!
In the final week of the second quarter of the season and right before their bye week, the Lions will have to face down the Dallas Cowboys who will be coming off a brutal schedule where they just faced off against Denver, Washington, and Philadelphia. I think they’ll be lucky to win one of those games which will bring them to Detroit probably with a 3-4 record. Jerry Jones likes to hit the panic button to rally the troops and this game scares me, because the Cowboys have all the talent in the world; they just can’t seem to fire on all cylinders for a whole season. At some point the Cowboys will catch fire and make a run. I just hope it’s the following week, but if they come in with a losing record and fighting for their lives, we could have a problem. This is another swing game and could go either way. I think just like the payoffs, it will come down to Tony “Iceberg” Romo and his innate ability to sink even the biggest games. I think the Ford Field crowd will deafen the offense and make the difference in this one giving the Lions their best record since the 7-2 start they had in 1993. I know 7-1 seems like a dream, but I think this year is going to be special and finally the stars align over Motown, a city that is long overdue for a break.