The Lions’ Chase For Immortality

So every Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions manage to make their way on the television sets of so many people at home with their families but this year, watching them is just going to be awful.

The Lions coming into this week are 0-11 with an average margin of defeat at 13.9 points per game. 4 out of their 5 losses at home have come by 18 points or more (lone close game was vs. Washington by 8 points). On the other hand, 4 out of their 6 losses and more specifically their last 4 road games have been decided by single digits.

They get blown out by an average of 20 points at home (5 games) while its only 8.8 on the road. Maybe it’s the pressure of being consistently being barraged by the home crowd and even the late acquisition of Daunte Culpepper didn’t help where they built a 17-0 lead IN THE FIRST QUARTER only to get outscored 38-3 the rest of the game.

This is where really awful teams need luck. It is really hard to go 16 games without winning one. The Miami Dolphins (1-15) proved that last year with an overtime thriller against the Ravens. The final 5 games for Lions are against the Titans, Vikings, @ Colts, Saints and @ Packers who are a combined 34-21 with Packers being the only team under .500 at 5-6.

I don’t think there’s anyway Titans lose tomorrow night after the beating they took against the Jets. The Colts who are still fighting to secure a playoff spot will not take the Lions easily and will look to dismantle them early. The Saints offense has looked explosive at times this year and they can easily outscore any team to win a game. That just leaves it to the two divisional games with Minnesota and at Green Bay. The Vikings is a home game where the Lions have done awful so I wouldn’t expect that to change this late in the season so I’ll mark that at a loss.

That puts them at 0-15 going into the final week of the season in Green Bay. This could be a vital game for the Packers as they are in a fight for the playoff lives with a 3-team race in the division. You know the Lions play tough on the road, Lambeau just doesn’t have the mystique and intimidation factor that it once did for the Cheeseheads and no player, on any team wants to go 0-16. I am just afraid with the up and down season that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are having that they are going to slip up week 17 against a winless team and end up missing the playoffs by a week.

It is very hard to go 0-16 and even though no one deserves to go an entire season without winning a single game, I wouldn’t mind seeing it this year… although I’m quite afraid that the Packers just might ruin that for me.

So here’s the breakdown that I have for the Lions’ final five games:

Tennessee – Loss (14-31)
Minnesota – Loss (17-21)
at Indianapolis – Loss (14-28)
New Orleans – Loss (14-35)
at Green Bay – Win (21-20)

NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?

I’ll post my NFL predictions for this season now and talk about a couple of things I think will crucial this upcoming season. A couple of things to look out for will be the age of the New England Patriots’ defense. No one expects them to run the table again in the regular season but people might be in for a surprise if their age finally catches up to them and they end up losing 4 or 5 games. Also, who knows how injured Tom Brady really is and how effective he’ll be in the early parts of the season?

In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been handed a wonderful team but a great receiving group and all he has to do is not try to be Brett Favre. If he can stick to the short passes and allow the receivers to do their work with YAC as they did last year along with the new found running game in Ryan Grant – the Packers could really repeat as one of the top two seeds in the conference. New York Giants on the other hand have lost two considerablely talented players on defense and will that blow be big enough to keep them out of the playoffs? I doubt it because their offense has matured well enough and Eli should be able to carry a team to a couple of wins just by himself this year.

In the playoffs, you can never count out Brett Favre and certainly he’s not done with the way he played last year. Cold weather will be not be an issue and just might be something to provide Jets’ fans with something to hope for. However, let’s all be realistic. The Jets went 4-12 last year and just making the playoffs this year will be a dramatic improvement so I doubt they advance much further even though I do have them winning a game in the post-season.

Is this the year that Tony Romo finally breaks through and stops choking in the clutch? I think so. Packers losing Favre drops their main threat to be #1 once again in the conference and they had all the opportunities in the world to beat the Giants last year in the Divisional Round and if Romo can control the ball, they would have at least been a game away from going to the Super Bowl. No reason to expect the same progress this year, if not a little bit more poise and potentially a couple more wins in the post-season.

Does a Manning win a Super Bowl this year as well? Well that would make it three years in a row with Peyton and his Colts beating the Bears in 2007 although the loss of Jeff Saturday in the early parts of the season can slow down their progress but probably not enough to keep them from winning the division yet again en route to the Super Bowl XLIII victory on February 1, 2009.

Predictions are after the break. Continue reading “NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?”

Divisonal Playoff Prediction

Well here we go, NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend is just about here.

Seahawks at Packers (Saturday @ 4:30 on FOX)
I really want to see how Brett Favre decides to play this football game. He has lost 6 of his last 8 playoff games and could be his last game in Green Bay. Hopefully he does not play like he did in the Dallas game, going back and just slinging every pass 50 yards down the field. The Packers need to continue doing what got them to the playoffs this season – spread out the wide receivers and allow them to gain yards after the catch as well as using Ryan Grant to keep defenses honest. I think if the Packers still to that game plan, Seattle just cannot score enough points to beat them this year, maybe if they had Shaun Alexander of a couple of years ago where they would run over everyone but this year they ranked 20th in the league on the ground and with passing game that is only decent, I think Green Bay squeaks out a win in Lambeau Field. Green Bay 27-24.

Jaguars at Patriots (Saturday @ 8:30 on CBS)
This is probably going to be the best match up of the weekend. The Jaguars are coming off an impressive victory in Pittsburgh and you know the Patriots after their 16-0 regular season performance do not want their season to end with a disappointment. I like the way the Jaguars defense plays and forces the offenses to become one dimensional with their great rushing defense. Yes the Patriots are great a passing team but the Jags have an athletic defense that could pose trouble for the likes of Moss or Welker. I think if the Jaguars just hold their own in the early stages of the game and do not succumb to a deep pass or two early, they are a team that can probably will out a win later in the games where so many other teams have failed. I think that because of their quarterback David Garrard – who is no Eli Manning, no AJ Feeley and certainly no Kyle Boller – he is a much better quarterback and only threw 3 interceptions in the regular season… that is going to be key, protecting the football. For everything that the Patriots have done this year, you certainly cannot count them out but do not overlook the Jaguars because I see them winning this game. Jaguars win 31-24.

Chargers at Colts (Sunday at 1 on CBS)
If you want to see a game with two high powered offenses, this is the game to watch. It is not only Peyton Manning vs. LaDainian Tomlinson, but Manning has so many options in Wayne, Addai, Clark and now add Harrison into that mix as well. Phillip Rivers will be troubled with the apparent loss of Antonio Gates who is still game time decision will not be 100% even if he plays but they have added Chris Chambers since the last time these two teams met and that will provide some balance in the Charger attack. Chargers pulled out a lucky win earlier in the year when Adam Vinatieri missed a chip shot, I have a feeling Manning will not let the game be that close this time around. One thing that is often overlooked about this Colts team is their defense. The D ranked #1 in the league in scoring, allowing just over 16 points a game and while they put up nearly 30 that does not bode well for their opponents. No team has put up over 25 points on the Colts this year and it will still be the case after this game. Colts win easy 35-21.

Giants at Cowboys (Sunday at 4:30 on FOX)
So Eli Manning finally got that monkey off his back last week with an impressive win over the Bucs. The Giants certainly have everything working for them right now – they have the momentum, they have the confidence in their quarterback and everyone seems to be on the same page and traveling to Dallas, they are going to need every bit of that if they wish to pull out a victory. The Cowboys pretty much limped into the playoffs losing 2 of their last 3, scoring only 12 points in the loses. Tony Romo and company should benefit from the extra week’s rest and the home field advantage but the winning streak the Giants have can be very dangerous. Everyone says it is very difficult to beat a team 3 times in one season but I think if they have done it twice already, they sort of know what to do against you and unless the Giants make dramatic changes I do not see how they will avoid making it 3 straight.A healthy TO should provide to be the difference maker in this game, I see the Giants falling just a little short. I know I am going to take beating from some over enthusiastic Giant fans but I will stick by my original prediction, Cowboys win 24-17.