BY: DALTON I’m sure that by now, you know that Jim Bob Cooter was not brought back as the offensive coordinator for the Lions. What a weird tenure as OC he had, right? When Lombardi… More
As anyone who follows college basketball knows, Michigan and Michigan State are a couple of the top teams in the country. As of now (Jan. 9th) the Wolverines are ranked 2nd in the nation and the Spartans are ranked 6th. Obviously, nobody expected Michigan to be as good as they are after graduating/losing their three best players in MAAR, Duncan Robinson, and Mo Wagner. Michigan State is doing their typical Michigan State thing where they are really good in November, December, and January. While these early months don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, they can produce some pretty fun and exciting match-ups. With that said, here lies my issue.
Michigan is undefeated and Michigan State only has two losses. Both are firmly in the top ten in the nation. Both are playing great ball right now. Both are the top two favorites to win the B1G Ten. Both have players who are competing not just as a team, but as individuals i.e. Winston vs Simpson. Wouldn’t it make sense for the B1G Ten to schedule one of the games between U of M and MSU earlier than FEBRUARY 24TH?!?!?!?! But Dalton, how would the B1G Ten know that both of these teams would be in the top ten? That is a fair point, loyal reader, but still a stupid argument. Michigan vs Michigan State has been the B1G Ten’s best basketball rivalry for about five years. The B1G Ten could always garner national attention with a January match-up between these two. It just doesn’t make sense to make both games two of the final four games of the B1G Ten season. They also couldn’t be COMPLETELY blindsided that Michigan and Michigan State are both really good. Izzo always has MSU humming in the basketball months that dont matter and Michigan is coming off of an NCAA Championship appearance. Yea, they lost their top players but you would think they would at least be a top 25 team. By waiting for these games towards the end of the season, the B1G Ten takes money out of their own pockets. If MSU and Michigan played tomorrow, it would probably be the highest rated college basketball game of the season thus far. Say both teams get roughed up a little bit in conference play, something that is totally possible. Now, instead of undefeated #2 vs 14-2 #6, that match up might be #18 vs #15. It is just idiotic what the B1G Ten is doing.
Obviously, the B1G Ten being shitty at their job isn’t anything new. College athletic governing boards have made billions of mistakes in the past and will probably make millions of mistakes by the end of this week. But this error of back loading games hurts not only themselves and their respective universities, it hurts fans of basketball everywhere.
Back when I was writing for WCBN, I did an end of year media awards blog. Well, it popped up in my Facebook memories today and inspired me to write another. But Dalton, aren’t you at work? Yes, but its that weird week in between Christmas and New Years where nothing really gets done. This one will be a little more in depth than my previous one, probably because I care a little more and have consumed more media.
*Obviously there are some HUGE names I am leaving off of this list (Avengers, Star is Born, Black Panther, etc.) but I never a. got around to seeing them or b. Not a huge fan of comic book movies/am so far behind on them that it would be a disservice for me to watch them now.
- Isle of Dogs– A classic Wes Anderson film through and through. From the stop animation, similar to that of Fantastic Mr.Fox, to the constantly dry humor. A cute and touching story about a boy going and finding his dog. What is not to love about that? All the big names in the movie certainly delivered on their voice acting. When the biggest gripe with Hollywood is that its all remakes, this was an invigorating breath of fresh air.
- Into the Spider Verse-While I said I am not a huge fan of comic book movies, this one completely blew me away. It was a refreshing take on the played out Spider-Man story. It was cute, funny, and 100% self-aware. For example, they introduce many Spider-People into this movie and each time they show the origin story, they make some comment about how “we’ve all heard this story before”. This movie took a story line that looked to be dead and pumped new life into it. I’m not saying I would like a second movie in this series, but I am saying this is my favorite comic book movie of all time.
- Death of Stalin– Death of Stalin was a phenomenal film with a lot of nuanced, dark comedy that a lot of people didn’t expect. It wasn’t advertised that much or shown in many theaters nationwide. I was luck enough to see it in its last week of running. If you get the chance to buy/stream it, you have to do so.
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs– Netflix release movies typically scare me away, but this Cohen Brothers film bought Netflix a little more credibility. The fact that this movie was so unconventional is what made it so great. Instead of a normal movie where there is a main story line surrounded with B and C plots through out the entire film, this movie was a collection of five individual stories that had no connection to each other. Setting it in the Wild West was a great way to touch on the different types characters you would come across that the Silver Screen doesn’t really pay homage to. Because of the ‘five individual story’ structure, it is one of the easiest movies of the year to watch.
- Bad Times at the El Royale– The big cast (Bridges, Hamm, Hemsworth) certainly delivered in this murder-mystery thriller. But it was the lesser known names that stole the show. Lewis Pullman’s performance as Miles Miller, the bell boy/concierge at the El Royale was phenomenal. Portraying the innocent boy who knows too much, his character was the whipped cream and cherry on an already delicious movie. The movie is a little long and can drag at times, but the “You don’t really know who anybody is” aspect of the film keeps you engaged for its entirety.
WINNER: ISLE OF DOGS
*I know that most of these songs are rap and a lot of my followers will ask where the Greta Van Fleet is. GVF is good. I like them, but they didnt put out anything in 2018 that was “Song of the Year” good. So get off my back.
- Mo Bamba by Shek Wes: The anthem of college kids across the nation. It is simple, the words are easy to figure out, and anytime drunk people can scream three consecutive obscenities in public, the song will pick up a lot of steam. Also Mo Bamba being a good basketball player has helped. Underrated part about this song is that Shek Wes filmed it while in a walking boot and on an Amigo scooter.
- High by Young Thug ft Elton John: The first 500 times I listened to this song, I wept uncontrollably. Its like Thug, Sir Elton, and Jesus sat down in a studio and decided to give this world the most important piece of media since the Ten Commandments. If you haven’t listened to this song yet, I’m jealous that you get to experience it for a first time.
- Rats by Ghost: This radio friendly rocker from the Satan-worshiping metal band is catch as all get out. Ghost would probably be my band of the year if I had that category. Their new album “Prequelle” was strong from front to back and “Rats” is the crowned juul (trying to get my SEO up). My Dad always told me that a metal song is all about the riff and “Rats” certainly delivers. From ground and pound melodies to mind melting solos, this heavy rocker takes back seat to nobody.
- Nice for What by Drake: Undeniably the King of Main Stream Rap right now, Drake’s newest album “Scorpion” delivered hits on hits on hits. “God’s Plan” got all of the social media hype with the tear-inducing music video and meme culture. “In My Feelings” got massive numbers because of the Shiggy Challenge that was inescapable on Instagram. But “Nice for What” is the most fun, dance-able, singable, and listenable song off of the 2018 project from Aubrey.
- The Middle by Maren Morris, Zedd, and Grey: So, so catchy. This dance hit combines all the features of a modern pop song. Strong vocals, fun bass/beat drops, and high energy. It was played at least 2x at every house party or bar I went to in the summer. Not the greatest song of all time, but I would be doing it a huge disservice to leave it off of this list.
WINNER: HIGH BY YOUNG THUG FT. ELTON JOHN
BEST TV SHOW*
*I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I’ve been planning to since last April.
- Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 13: The ASIP cast delivered again. While there were a couple of duds in this season, there were just as many all-time classic moments. It was great that Dennis (my favorite character) is back to his maniacal ways, Frank is as crazy and depraved as ever, Mac fully embraced his gay character, Charlie is Charlie, and Dee still doesn’t get an ounce of respect. A very self-aware season where they poked fun at the TV industry, society, and themselves.
- Big Mouth, Season 2: From the weird mind of Nick Kroll, Big Mouth was the most outrageous show I’ve seen in a very long time. Continuing to follow a group of kids through puberty, it is every bit as awkward and hilarious as it is raunchy and adoring. The best addition to this season was Nick’s personal Hormone Monster. Weird, decrepit, and a total failure. “You’re the man Steve!”
- American Vandal, Season 2: Crushed the entire season in one sitting while out in San Francisco with some friends. Not as funny as the first season, but the main story and the plot twists were just as captivating. Again, they perfected the mock-umentary and I will be sure to watch Season 3 (if there is one)
- South Park, Season 22: One of South Park’s better seasons in a while. I’m not sure what the critical reception is, but anytime they can put in an entire episode about Catholic priests, count me in. They also brought back Al Gore and ManBearPig (MBP) in a couple of episodes. The biggest thing I got out of this season is that Al Gore’s life mentor was Al Gore.
- Better Call Saul, Season 4: For those of us who has stuck with Saul through the first three seasons, we were rewarded BIG TIME. This season really dives into the character of Jimmy McGill and you see more and more cross over with Breaking Bad. I don’t want to spoil too much of it in case there is someone who has been meaning to watch the series. The first few seasons were slow, but this last season was just as good, if not better, than the best seasons of Breaking Bad.
WINNER: BETTER CALL SAUL, SEASON 4
BEST VIDEO GAME*
* I don’t have a PlayStation or a Switch but I’ve heard really really good things about God of War and Smash Bros.
- Red Dead Redemption 2– In the much anticipated release to the sequel to Red Dead Redemption, RDR2 doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. In fact, it may be the only game that had exceeded already sky-high expectations. The graphics were absolutely phenomenal. It was the first game that was built for consoles with enhanced graphic capabilities. Ever minor detail was accounted for. The game play was even more in-depth than the visuals. From the horse relationship mechanics to the way you could interact with local towns folk. RDR2 didn’t just give us a rehash of its predecessor, it took what made it great (story line, endearing characters, rarely touched upon genre) and built upon. Not too often does a video game sequel deliver on this level.
- Fortnite- I know that this game technically came out in 2017, but it didn’t become what it is today until early 2018. I’m sure most people understand the gist of what Fortnite is and how its played. But some many people don’t understand what makes it so fun. Simply put, it is the multiplayer aspect. Squading up with your friends and taking on 96 other people is both challenging and exhilarating. Pair that in with the fact that no two games are exactly the same and it is 100% free to play, and you have yourself a smash hit. Obviously, people buy different character skins and dances to help personalize the experience, but they offer no competitive advantage. All you need is a console, an online membership, and some friends for a good time.
- Far Cry V- Before this game, I was never really into the Far Cry series. But, when my brother told me it was about a cult in Montana, I was hooked. It was a very open world game with a lot of side missions and mindless activities that helped enhance the game play. The story line was engaging and the weaponry was very fun. From guns like a shovel launcher (exactly what it sounds like) to a variety of assault rifles, the guns in this game added another level of enjoyment. Not as in depth as RDR2 but for this game, that is a good thing. They kept it complexly simple and delivered an absolutely outstanding game.
This year’s Lions team is absolutely pathetic. I have never seen such a lack of effort in a game. I don’t know if it’s just me getting older or if the Lions have finally done it, but a wave of calmness and disgust washed over me today. Now, now I can clearly see. I can see that the Lions will never win. I really shouldn’t waste my Sundays anymore watching these perennial losers. If they don’t want to play on Sunday, I shouldn’t watch. Am I saying that I’ll never watch again? Of course not, I’m hooked for life. But as for this season, I will no longer plan my Sundays around watching the Lions. If someone comes to me with plans for Sunday afternoon, I’ll take them. Literally, anything is better than watching this team right now. Stafford has played like shit this season, the playcalling has been awful, the defense can’t stop anyone, and the special teams might as well be playing no arms or legs. I feel like the end of the Jim Bob Cooter era is coming to a close. This offense stinks to high heaven. I just don’t understand how there can be such little creativity despite having playmakers littered across the offense. I would probably say that Jim Bob gets fired after this season. It’s inexcusable how bad this side of the ball has been. I really don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said on this blog or any respectable news outlet. I’m just done. Fed up. Sick of it. Whatever phrase you can think of, apply it.
The Lions, of course, made a little push back in the second half. But, it is not going to fool me. This is a bad team that has seemingly quit on the season. I usually try to write around 500 words for a game recap but you can only write “This team fucking sucks” so many different ways/times. So, until the Lions decide they want to play for 60 minutes, I will not be writing 500 words. If you want more content from me, don’t yell at me, yell at the Lions. This is their fault.
Ohio State @ Michigan State, Noon, FOX: This is my biggest upset alert for any team ranked in the top 25. Michigan State is getting healthier and at home. Now, the Buckeyes are still going to be the favorite but this is clearly Urban’s worst team at Ohio State. They struggled with a trash Nebraska team. If Dantionio actually wants to put together an offensive game plan, then the Spartans should be in it right to the end. When an underdog hangs around in a game, they usually can find a way to pull off the upset, especially at home. OSU’s season is over at about 3:30 pm. PREDICTION: OSU 21- MSU 24
Michigan @ Rutgers, 3:30 PM, BTN: The fact that the line on this game is only Michigan -39 is all the motivation this years Wolverines should need. The only thinking on this game I have to do is will Rutgers have more yards than Michigan has points? PREDICTION: UM 62- RU 0
Lions @ Bears, 1:00 PM, FOX: With the Lions looking like absolute garbage against a good pass rush last week in Minnesota, they dont inspire much hope going into Chicago going against an even better pass rush. Now T.J. Lang is officially out so I dislike their chances of stopping Khalil Mack even more. Slay was also announced as OUT for Sunday so the defense is going to be down one of their top play makers. The good news for the Lions? The Bears offense can be stopped. The bad news? They have to stop the running game. The Lions can win this game if they can contain and force Trubisky to throw. That and a little bit of protection for Stafford should make for an interesting Sunday. But, dont get your hopes up folks. The Bears defense will be the best one the Lions face this year outside the Rams. Lions fans should just hope that Stafford makes it out of Chicago with the ability to walk. PREDICTION: DET 13- CHI 24
Just 10 days after I wrote that I was going all-in with the Lions this year, they swiftly kicked me in the balls and punted away the season. I am thankful that they did it quickly instead of dragging it out until Week 15. This team, we can now comfortably say, has taken a step back this year and this means Bob Quinn has some questions to answer. You cant fire Caldwell after claiming a 9-7 wasn’t good enough and then hire your buddy from New England and look the way that the Lions have looked. Am I saying that Quinn and Patricia are on the hot seat? Certainly not. BQ still has a pretty solid draft record and this class is looking like his best yet. The Snacks trade is right up there with one of the best in recent Lions’ history. So, Quinn has bought a little bit of cushion on his seat. But, that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass for this season. Make no mistake, he hitched his GM tenure in Detroit on Matt Patricia and so far, the wagon has yet to leave the barn. Now, you could point at Philadelphia and see that Doug Peterson struggled his first year then figured it out his second year once his system was in place. Ya know what? I’ll buy that argument a little bit. But I don’t remember the Eagles EVER looking as bad as the Lions have this season.
While Patricia has a few more years before his seat gets super hot, Jim Bob Cooter might as well be sitting on magma. What the hell is this offense right now? Unimaginative, predictable, mistake prone, and boring. The offense has scored 23 points in the last two games and only one touchdown. While the Vikings and Seahawks have formidable defenses, that is simply inexcusable. Stafford has returned to his mistake prone ways. The running game is as fickle as Michigan weather. What happened to the extended hand-offs, short passes, and quick routes? The Lions offensive line was absolute garbage on Sunday. When you give up 10 sacks, there is plenty of blame to go around. Most goes on the line, some goes on Stafford, and the rest go on Jim Bob Cooter. While they couldn’t block if their life depended on it, JBC did nothing to help them. Throw some slants or curls or screens. Do SOMETHING to get the ball out of Stafford’s hand quickly. Stafford doesn’t have time and in turn tries to do too much and in turn makes dumb mistakes. Help your team, help yourself Jim Bob.
The defense I actually didn’t think was that poor. Outside of their “once-a-game” huge run they gave up, I thought they did a nice job stopping the run. They got multiple stops in the second half that left a window open for the offense to come in and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Alas, the offense never came. Teez Tabor is, in fact, awful still. Still the 144/144 rated corner in the NFL per PFF and is also the only corner back in the league that is allowing a perfect passer rating when he is targeted. In layman’s terms, the Lions would be better off sticking me out there.
The only way I can end this article without seeming like and angst-y teen who hates his parents is this, I’m happy Michigan football is back in my life. I’m happy that I have a dominant team in my life. I might even just start blogging about them only because the Lions suck beyond belief and Michigan, especially their defense, is amazing beyond belief. So, here’s to the Lions getting a little bit better to still lose but show improvement and to Michigan kicking the ever living shit out of Ohio State.
Michigan State @ Maryland, Noon, ESPN2: The Spartans proved me and many others wrong by hanging on and defeating a hot Purdue team. Lombardi started his first game as a Spartan and didn’t look half bad. Its always hard to come in and replace a Heisman dark horse candidate like Brian Lewerke(56% passing, 8 TDs/7INT). Big time shoes to fill. So Sparty goes on the road this week after a big win and a quarterback change, what does it all mean? It means MSU will become bowl eligible this week. Maryland is an absolute dumpster fire right now. After bringing back, then firing former head coach DJ Durkin for having a toxic culture in their program. They don’t know what they’re doing in terms of coaching and this isn’t the same Terps team that beat Texas in their first game of the season. I expect the Spartans to handle Maryland with little problems. If MSU’s defense doesn’t have the breakdowns in the secondary that plagued them early in the year, expect a stress-free watch. PREDICTION: MSU 24- UM 10
Penn State @ Michigan, 3:45 pm, ESPN: #14 Penn State comes into the Big House with its B1G Championship hopes on life support. If they don’t win in Ann Arbor, their dream is over for the season. For the Wolverines, this is stop number three of the Winovich coined “Revenge Tour”. Michigan is looking to avenge its loss last year in Happy Valley. While both teams are ranked, I fell as if Michigan is going to make this a statement game before Ohio State. As it sits, Michigan is number five in the College Football Playoff rankings. A dominant win here and they will move into the coveted top four, especially considering Alabama and LSU play each other this week. Not going to over think this one, Michigan is better in ever facet of the game. PREDICTION: PENN 14- UM 28
Lions @ Vikings, 1 pm, FOX: The Lions are playing their first game without Golden Tate in years. Does losing Tate really hurt the offense? Yes. Especially for the first game since losing him. I’m not sure if Golladay is ready to draw the type of coverage that Tate drew, this will be a huge game for the 2nd year receiver. The Vikings aren’t the same team that won the Division last year. At least, not yet this year but they still have a stellar defense on paper. That means the defense can show up at any time because they still have high caliber players. The Lions defense still willfully employs Teez Tabor, who is the worst corner back in the league per PFF. I’m out on the Lions right now, but if they some how win, I’m all the way back in. PREDICTION: DET 17- MIN 24
Two part blog today. Was trying to think of a way to weave Halloween and the Lions together, but I cant. I’m too brain dead from playing Xbox in every single free minute I have. So, here are two sort-of-separate blogs about things going on in my bubble of life.
Well, they suck again, at least until next week. The only consistency we’ve seen out of this team through 8 weeks is that they are inconsistent. They came out and looked absolutely awful against the Seahawks, outside of the first offensive drive. Defense couldn’t stop anything, both run and pass. The most disappointing part of that is the pass defense. Multiple times a Lions corner back, not named Darius Slay, was in a position to make a play and they simply couldn’t. The offensive line was awful for the first time this year and in turn, the running game couldn’t get going early on. Stafford played alright until the end of the game with two costly turn overs that can mostly be put on him. That’s enough of the game recap, you all know they sucked. But, even worse than sucking, Golden Tate was traded for a 3rd round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. While I dislike the trade, I understand the other side of the argument of acquiring draft capitol in exchange for a guy who would only be here for 8 more games. Especially when you consider that we didn’t have a third round pick this year and 3rd round picks become starters around 30% of the time. The argument is that you’re getting something in the future for nothing in the future. I am, though, in the other camp. I dislike this trade for a couple of reasons. 1) It sends the locker room the wrong message. How can Patricia and Quinn go into that locker room and tell the players that they are still trying to win games after they trade away one of their most productive players? 2) The division is still wide open. The Lions, while in last place, are only a game out of first with half the season left and there isn’t a dominant NFC North team. We are going to devour each other in divisional play. I know the trade was a move for the future, but I’m fucking sick of everything being for the “future”. I’m 24 years old now, a young adult by all measures. I’ve NEVER seen the Lions win the NFC North. In every year of my life, the Lions have never been better than 3 other teams in a single season. And now, in a fluky year of all the competition being down, we are essentially punting the season away with 8 games left and only a game behind. Pathetic. I don’t even want to get into the compensatory pick argument because that is kind of a crap shoot. Also, it wouldn’t be until the 2020 draft. I realize that the Lions wouldn’t win anything this year in terms of “big picture” goals, but given the fact that the Lions have been horrible to the fans for 60 years, a divisional title would seem like a conference title. Now, does trading Tate make this offense significantly worse? Short answer, no. They still have Kerryon Johnson, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay. This will be an opportunity for KG to get more targets, but it is hard to justify trading your most electric play-maker.
If you don’t like Halloween, you have a big ole dump in your pants. Is it the greatest holiday in the world? Certainly not, but its still a lot of fun for all ages. Kids? Trick or Treating. Young adults? A more legitimate reason to get drunk than just, “its a Wednesday”. Adults? You get to dress up in costumes and forget about paying bills and lame stuff. Also, if you have infants, you can dress them in what ever outfit YOU want! Its not like they are going to fight back. They’re babies, they’re dumb as shit and can barely even walk. Also, Halloween offers the greatest holiday themed song in history. Its the Monster Mash. But Dalton, how can you say the Monster Mash is the greatest holiday song ever recorded? 1) Its a grave yard smash 2) The Christmas song market is over saturated and overplayed now that every station starts November 1st. The MM is only played on Halloween and that makes it that much more special. 3) The monster references are off the chart. I mean, every single scary character is there. I don’t hear Christmas songs with Santa, Jesus, Baby Jesus, Mary, and those 3 Wise (?) Men all in one song. 4) Outside of Christmas, there are no other holidays with songs. Easter sucks as a whole, 4th of July doesn’t have 4th of July songs, it just has patriotic songs that get jammed into the holiday. No Thanksgiving songs, no Valentines day songs, no Arbor Day songs.
Michigan, BYE: Glad there is a bye to give a week cushion between coming down from MSU and getting focused for Penn State next week.
Purdue @ Michigan State, Noon, ESPN: Michigan State is hurting. Both in terms of personnel and coaching innovation. After getting dominated by Big Brother last week, this week doesn’t get any easier for Dantonio and Company. Purdue may be the hottest team in the entire B1G Ten right now. The offense is firing on every cylinder they have. BUT, they are in a prime “let down” spot. On the road, after a huge upset of Ohio State, against a beat up Spartans team, and possibly looking ahead to next week against Iowa that will have major implications in the B1G Ten West race. Now, if the Michigan State coaching staff decides to put together an actual game plan, they stand a chance. But, from what I’ve seen this season, it looks as though they keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think this game is going to be much closer than it should be, but Purdue pulls it out in the 4th quarter. PREDICTION: PUR 27- MSU 20
Seattle @ Detroit, 1 p.m., FOX: The big story into this game will be if Damon “Snacks” Harrison will be able to play for the Lions. The recently added run stopper will help bolster the 30th ranked run defense going forward. Today, Matt Patricia said they were trying to get him up to speed with the system. As of now, he will be a game time decision but I would be mildly surprised if he plays. Luckily, the Lions probably wont need him this week. The key to stopping the Seahawks is to stop Russel Wilson’s ability to scramble/improvise. The Lions defense should be able to do so if they remain disciplined up front and the defensive backfield continues to play the way they have been. There are not many offensive threats on this Seattle team outside of Wilson. As for the Lions offense, they should have no problem moving the ball if they remain as balanced as they were last week. These aren’t your Seahawks of 2011-2016. The Legion of Boom is no more and, while they rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense, the only potent offense they have played this year is the Rams. It wont be a cake walk for Stafford and the rest of the offense, but if the running game can stay on track and the offensive line continues to be a top 5 unit, there should be no real issues. PREDICTION: SEA 17- DET 28
Folks,,, I’m pushing all of my chips into the middle of the table. All of my maize and blue ones? Middle of the table. All of my Honolulu blue and silver chips? Middle of the god damn table. This past weekend, one of the best football weekends of my life, has me drowning in Kool-Aid. Please, someone, send help. I’m going to be devastated if Michigan doesn’t either win the B1G Ten or the Lions don’t make the playoffs. If for some reason, both don’t happen, it might be lights out for your boy’s football life. But, with what I’ve seen from both teams, I am almost positive one of those things will happen. If I had to guess, I would say Michigan winning the B1G Ten is more likely.
The Wolverines have been fortunate. Don’t get me wrong, they have played well enough to be where they are now. They have dominated everyone they’ve played since losing week one against Notre Dame. But, they have been relatively healthy. The major opponents they have beaten have been banged up (Wisconsin, Michigan State). Now, some people will take that as a reason to be cautious. That’s fair. But, Michigan hasn’t been getting these types of breaks in a long time. Add in the fact that Ohio State’s best defender is quitting the team to focus on the draft, they haven’t been able to run the ball, and that Urban Meyer has seemingly warmed his own seat. Michigan is the favorite to win the B1G Ten, as they should be this year. With the way this team has been playing, the way Shae has been minimizing mistakes and making plays when needed, the way Higdon has run like an out of control train, and the way Don Brown is doing Don Brown things; There is no reason for me not to believe in this team to MINIMALLY win the B1G Ten outright. CFP is a different beast because we still need a game or two to break our way (Alabama to beat LSU and Georgia, ND/Clemson win out), but it will be tough for the committee to keep a one-loss B1G Ten champ out. I am All In.
The start to the season was rough, I’m not telling anyone anything new here. But, the Lions have won 3 of their last 4 and were a play away from beating Dallas. Not only have they won, but they’ve also been dominant. The offensive line is clicking, the run game is gashing, the secondary has been solid, and NOW the defensive line should be much tougher to run against. The Snacks Harrison trade is absolutely massive. It took so little to get him (5th round pick) and we fixed our biggest issue (run defense) with one of the best run stoppers in the league. Now the Lions have an explosive offense, both passing and rushing, and a formidable defense. They are the most complete team I’ve seen since the 0-16 team (completely awful). It is time to buy into the Lions winning the NFC North. They are only, essentially, a game back of the division lead and there isn’t a dominant team in the North like there has been in the past. It’s the Lions’ time. Its Matt Stafford’s time. It’s MY time. I am All In.
It was an ass-kicking.
Michigan @ Michigan State, 12 pm, FOX: The biggest game of both teams season up to this point. Michigan is looking to keep their CFP dreams alive while MSU is looking to sneak into the B1G East passenger seat next to Ohio State. While MSU has basically lost their chance at the CFP, their hopes of a B1G Championship are alive if they win out and get a little help elsewhere. But in reality, all that shit doesn’t matter. This is a rivalry game. We all know that Harbaugh doesn’t have the best record against rivals. We all know that MSU has under performed up until last Saturday against Penn State. This game means much more than just a tally in the win or loss column. It means Harbaugh can take another step in dispelling the “can’t win big games” stigma. The Spartans can get their season back on track. But more importantly, if Michigan wins it will restore order into the universe. This upside down world of MSU dominating this rivalry will come to an end Saturday. A thousand year reign of Michigan football begins Saturday around 3:30 p.m. Get on board or get off the tracks. PREDICTION: UM 31- MSU 14
Lions @ Dolphins, 1 pm, FOX: The Lions are coming out of a bye week and the Dolphins will be without Tannehill for another week. While the Brock Osweiler was able to lead the ‘Fins to a victory against the Bears last week (thank you), but I dont think the Brocketship has much fuel left. Also, Osweiler is really good against the Bears for some reason. The Lions are the more talented team, they are the healthier team, and they have had a week of rest. I love the Lions in this spot, despite being on the road against a team with a winning record. PREDICTION: DET 24- MIA 17
Instead of writing a recap of the absolute beat down of the Packers last week, I decided to wait until the Lions were out of their bye to see where they stand as a team, in the division, and in the NFL. Before I start this thing of an article, let me say that this has been one of the oddest starts to an NFL season that I can remember.
The first five games of the season were puzzling. They were frustrating, joyous, “Hey, Patricia has this team ready”, and “Same Old Lions” all at the same time. So, we don’t know who they really are. I would say the Lions are probably most like the team that lost in Dallas. Offensively strong, still has Stafford, but the defense will have frustratingly bad lapses this season. Maybe they are good though? Outside of the Jets game, they had a chance to win in San Francisco, even after the bogus defensive holding call brought back an interception return down to the three yard line. They also were ahead late on the road in Dallas before giving up a game-winning field goal. But, this is the reasoning of a Lions fan so this team could be absolute dog shit too. Before the season, I figured the Lions would be 2-3 by the bye week but I did not think the wins would come against the Patriots and Packers.
WHERE THEY ARE NOW:
The Lions do find themselves in the cellar of the North right now, but it is still a tight race with a lot of season left to play. This team has shown they can put together dominating performances and are already through the toughest part of their schedule. I’m not saying they can make a run at their first NFC North title in 24 years, but I’m also not, not saying that. But, as a Lions fan, I know that the Packers/Vikings tie is going to somehow fuck us over at the end because that’s just what happens.
As I mentioned earlier, the toughest stretch of the Lions schedule is behind them. Looking at this schedule, the Lions should be favored in at least six games (@Dolphins, Seahawks, Panthers, Bears, @Cardinals, @Bills). They could be favored in more or less depending on health/how the rest of the season plays out but if I knew that, I wouldnt be working a 9-5. I’d be living on a yacht somewhere off the coast of the Maldives with my gambling winnings. But, if all things stay relatively similar, the Lions should be looking at an 8-8 finish. Who knows though, maybe they get hot and win a few that they shouldn’t. It is tough to look forward because 1) Any given Sunday and 2) They are the Lions.
In case you didn’t watch, the Lions lost on a last second field goal to the Cowboys. To be completely honest with you loyal readers, this loss didn’t hurt that much. I don’t know if it is because I’ve seen that script play out before, the fact that the game against the Jets sucked all optimism out of the season, or maybe it was a combination of both. It’s taxing being a Lions fan. I could sit here and bitch about how Kerryon Johnson needs more touches, how the defense needs to improve, how we should look to get Golden Tate the ball more, or anything else on the laundry list of problems that plagues the Honolulu Blue and Silver. But, it would basically be a copy and paste of the recaps of week one and week two.
Instead, I’m going to complain about the refs. Now, I’m not saying that the refs were the reason that the Lions lost this game. No sir. The Lions lost this game because of a porous defense and too little offense early on. Let me know if you’ve heard that one before. But that officiating in Dallas was horrible. Again, let me know if you’ve heard that one before. The Lions losing, I can handle. They do it all the time. Its what ever. But, the bullshit calls or lack there of that Dallas gets every *clap* single *clap* time *clap* just pisses me off. Hey NFL, the Cowboys haven’t been good since the 90’s, why do you constantly ensure they have a leg up on the competition at home? Roger, are you scared of Jerry Jones? Its so infuriating to have 3 straight defensive penalties before the Cowboys have their first OF THE GAME. The first Cowboys penalty came in the form of a block in the back that was in the open field and blatantly changed the outcome of the play. But, I guess a penalty happening in plain sight isn’t enough to warrant a flag because there was an obvious hold on the Cowboys’ left tackle on a third and long that was converted into a first and goal. The Boys scored two plays later. You cant sit here and tell me that the Cowboys are an unbelievably disciplined team to where they only commit two penalties the entire game. Its just not possible. Then there was the B.S. unnecessary roughness penalty on the play where Dak slipped and fell. If Dak Prescott continued to play after he slipped and threw a touchdown, there is not a doubt in my mind that they would have counted it. There was no whistle to signal that Prescott was down. There was no clear evidence that he was touched down. It is simply a call that only the Cowboys would get because, heaven forbid, the darlings of the NFL start the season 1-3. But, who gives a fuck if the Lions start 1-3? They’re Detroit, no one gives a shit about them. Whats another season of losing? Well, folks, the NFL is getting tougher and tougher to watch each week. And its not because of politics or talent or the length of a game. It is because the referees are simply lost out there. They have no idea what they are doing and there is no direction in the league office as to how to fix it.
I’m tired of the league playing favorites. So tired that I may be letting Dean Blandino off the hook and turning my attention on to who ever else is in charge. Its just frustrating to know that the Lions already have a tough enough time winning games on their own, let alone against the officials. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, no other fan base knows what Lions fans go through. The Browns are close, but they’ve been a better franchise in the Super Bowl era than the Lions. I hate this team.
What happened on Sunday night in Detroit, can only be described as an anomaly. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed 60 minutes of football quite like I did when watching that game. Was I ever nervous? Oh, absolutely. Who wasn’t nervous after the Stafford interception/Tom Brady touchdown pass? But, for the first time in recent memory, the Lions answered the score. Not just a field goal, either. An actual, real-life touchdown. It was a night where Lions fans walked the thin borderline of exuberance and impending doom. I can’t explain what happened or why it happened, but I do know is that I could have turned the game off at halftime and I wouldn’t have missed much. In a good way. I went to sleep aggressively happy that night. Had the most delightful of dreams, of which I can only really credit the Detroit Lions.
I used to do the good, the bad, and the ugly for these segments but I’m going to try something different. Now introducing the MVP segment:
M: Most. Most rushing yards for a Lions running back since Thanksgiving Day in 2013. Kerryon Johnson has ended the 70 game nightmare of the Lions not having a 100-yard rusher. He finished the game with 101 yards. When he broke the century mark in the fourth quarter, I started screaming for the Lions to just pull him from the game. I was willing to jeopardize the game if it meant the Lions could snap the streak. But seriously, Johnson looks like he has all the tools to be a 1200-yard rusher.
V: Validated. Not only was this win the first win as a head coach for Matt Patricia, it validates that he belongs as one of the select 32 to head a professional football team. The game plan was flawless and a team that looked to be on skids looked as if they were playing against a college team. All this against former mentor Bill Belichick.
P: Promise. What we saw on television was a flare of hope. Hope that this team could be something special…one day. What Lions team are we going to get next week? Who knows. It could be the one we saw week one against the Jets or it could be the dominators of week three. I hope its the latter. Who is this team? Its probably somewhere in the middle, honestly. I know thats not a hot take, but I think its the truth. But dont get it twisted, what this team showed on Sunday night was a higher level of play that they could have under Caldwell.
I try to be a good person.
I pay my taxes. I tip 20% at the very least. I vote. I don’t double park or litter. Occasionally, I even recycle.
I could be a better person. For many, the world is a broken place. Holding doors open for people and saying pleases and thank-yous might feel good in the moment, but kindness and courtesy alone don’t make me Gandhi.
While it may be right, it is demanding to ask people to sacrifice their comfort for the common good. People can also try to make an impact without disrupting their daily lives. Conscious consumption offers a way to back beliefs with the weight of our wallets. By spending or a few extra bucks, we can support more humane agricultural practices, better attitudes toward labor, or any number of other worthy causes.
We can also withhold money from organizations we do not support.
The NFL is run by detestable people. They underpay their athletes, reaping massive profits from a game designed to pulverize brains and bodies, then cast them aside. They turn a blind eye to domestic abusers and throw the book at potheads. This alone might keep some from following the sport, but despite myriad controversies, the NFL remains a ratings monster that dominates the national consciousness every Sunday.
When Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the National Anthem threatened to change that, the owners sprung into action. Despite Kaepernick’s obvious usefulness in a league desperate for good quarterback play, he will likely never play another NFL game. Eric Reid, a former Pro Bowler in the prime of his career, has yet to find a job after he followed in Kaep’s footsteps. Both quietly and peacefully voiced their discontent with a country that allows police to escape justice for terrorizing and murdering people of color. Because their protests took place during the NFL’s lip service to the military, people lost their shit.
Viewed most charitably, NFL owners are afraid of losing the portion of their profits that comes from fans who either missed Kaep’s message for his methods or who condone this pattern of violence. Viewed realistically, the owners are just as racist as the fans. Before the season, the NFL ruled that they would fine players who kneeled during the anthem, but would allow protesters to stay in the locker room. Rather than allowing their players to be a voice for change, they pushed the problem out of sight and out of mind in order to placate rabid conservatives. Kaepernick remains unemployed.
I don’t plan to watch an NFL game this year. I cheer for the Lions, so this isn’t a huge sacrifice. When I discussed this with a friend before the season began, he was perplexed. While he, too, sees Kaepernick as a hero, he brought to light several points I had not considered. By doing the same thing as the more publicized MAGA boycotters, was I unintentionally supporting their cause and pushing the NFL to further appease them? Would I be undercutting the platform an NFL career affords players to serve as role models and make differences in their communities? Would the players themselves endorse a fan boycott in solidarity with Kaepernick, or am I just assuming I know what’s best for them? Given the wide range of potential consequences (and the limited effect of removing a single viewer), was I just protesting for my own sense of moral superiority?
Furthermore, to what extent should I avoid the NFL? Is it enough to not watch games? I’m playing fantasy football this season because I recently moved to North Carolina, and it’s a way to stay in contact with old friends. I feel guilty about it; does this render my protest pointless? Should I avoid highlights, unfollow NFL-related Twitter accounts, and just avoid ESPN altogether?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. It feels right to avoid watching the NFL; I can construct answers to justify that decision. Conversely, those who still watch despite Kaep’s blackballing can latch onto any number of the aforementioned concerns to justify continuing to watch. I follow people far more socially conscious, more intimately connected than me to the injustice Colin Kaepernick fights; some boycott, some still watch. But what’s life if not a rudderless jaunt through a fog of moral vagueness?