Let’s Talk About Michigan Football

BY:DALTON

I’m ready to talk about Michigan football after giving it almost 10 days to marinate about what happened in Columbus. It was ugly, it was disappointing, it was embarrassing, and it wasn’t fun. It officially killed everything that Michigan football wants to be. They are no longer my father’s Michigan. National Title aspirations can never be the hope again. This loss officially confirmed that we are now the Wisconsin or Iowa of the B1G Ten East. We should aim for a B1G Championship appearance and the Rose Bowl. From here on out it would be foolish to have a “CFP or Bust” mentality as long as the last game of the year is against Ohio State. Some of my fellow Michigan fans will disagree with me. I want to be with them. I want to think there is a chance every season to make some national noise simply because “We are Michigan Football, 11 time National Champions”. Well, the last title came in the 90’s and since the turn of the century Michigan has only beaten Ohio State three (3) times. If they couldn’t beat them this year, I honestly don’t know what it would take to beat them. Ohio State has our number. Harbaugh isn’t great against rivals. Those are just facts. Cant argue with them. As for what happened a couple Saturdays ago, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Obviously the defense was the most shocking part of the failed venture into The Horseshoe. I saw plenty of scenarios where Michigan could lose the game, but the defense having the worst performance in Michigan Football history was not one of them. Giving up 62 points seemed impossible the way the Michigan defense had played under Brown the last 2 seasons. To me, it all started with the defensive line. That has been the strong point and calling card of the Michigan defense. When Gary, Winovich, and the rest of the crew were neutralized at the line of scrimmage, the rest of the team was exposed. Especially corner back Brandon Watson. If he played horribly, that would have been an upgrade over the performance that was turned in. The linebackers were constantly being burnt on running back wheel routes and, as mentioned in the preview by me, the secondary just simply wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the OSU wide outs. I thought that the secondary would be able to hold their own because I thought that Michigan had a superior advantage in the trenches. I was wrong, the defense was torched, and my hope for the future was lost.

The offense was not blameless. Despite putting up 39 points, the offense failed every time they were needed. Deep into the 3rd quarter it was an 8-point game and the defense had come up with multiple stops. An offensive score there potentially changes the story of the game. Gentry is the first player that comes to mind when thinking of the offensive ineptitude. He dropped a sure fire touchdown and a few big first down opportunities. Higdon was exposed for not being fast, Evans was exposed as not being strong (even though he would have given the running game the best chance that day, in my opinion), the offensive line was porous, and Shea proved to many that he is not ready for the NFL. The players under performed, but that wasn’t my biggest issue with the offense.

Now we are on to the coaching staff. Don Brown failed to adjust his game plan for what seemed like the first time in his tenure as DC. But, despite having a historically horrific day, I give him a pass. Not a pass for the game, but a pass for the future. I truly believe he will make the right adjustments going forward and wont be caught like he was that fateful Saturday ever again. Jim Harbaugh and the offensive coaching staff is a completely different story. Let me get this out there now, I do NOT want Michigan and Jim Harbaugh to separate paths. I think Jim is the best possible guy for the situation. That being said, RUN AN OFFENSE THAT IS NEWER THAN 1984. The game plan for this years’ game was absolutely pathetic. We continued to try and pound the rock, run play action, and huddle up despite being down two scores in the 4th quarter. The correct game plan against Ohio State’s defense was to go down field, something we never attempted to do, and to use speed, another thing we never attempted to do. Why were there no plays designed to get the ball into the hands of Tarik Black? Maryland scored 52 points basically running jet sweeps and Hail Marys and we didn’t attempt one of those. The ground and pound offense works against the Purdues and Marylands of the B1G Ten. Not against Ohio. Why was the game plan for the biggest game in the last 12 years of Michigan football the exact same as when Michigan won the National Title in 1948?  No creativity and inside the box thinking lead to another ass-whooping at the hands of Ohio State. I don’t know why, but I honestly thought that Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton (Maryland, please hire him) would look at what had worked against OSU all year and done something remotely similar to that. Don’t try to tell me that Michigan doesn’t have the athletes to do it. Don’t lie to yourself and think that Michigan doesn’t have the players to do it but Purdue and Maryland do. I understand the game plan of clock control, wearing them down, and having that pay dividends in the 4th quarter. But, when you find yourself in the middle of a shoot out, set down your hammer, pick up a gun, and give it hell. The one exciting drive Michigan had in the second half led to their only score that really mattered. The worst part about it is that the two games against OSU previous, I thought the coaching staff did an excellent job at game planning and that they just didn’t have the players to execute on offense. This year though, I’m not even sure if the coaching staff put together a game plan.

Its just sickening to see such an amazing season thrown away. 10-2 with a New Years 6 bowl is a great season any other year. But when you go in to the last game of the season against your bitter rival, with not only a B1G Ten Championship on the line, but also a College Football Playoff berth on the line, a NY6 bowl is a pretty shitty consolation prize. Now, I do want Michigan to beat Florida in the Peach Bowl. I would never want them to lose a game. It is just going to be tough to feel excited for it.

What is a Rivalry?

By: DALTON

As we all know, the University of Michigan Wolverines will take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State University on Saturday at high noon. According to my close personal friends Merriam and Webster, a rivalry is “the act of rivaling: the state of being a rival: COMPETITION”. But is Michigan still a rival? Let’s break it down:

The Wolverines are certainly rivals in “the act of rivaling”. Any time the Buckeyes win anything of meaning (games, recruiting, internal investigations) it is like a small knife stabbing all Wolverines in the heart. Michigan wants to beat OSU in every single thing that involves 100 yards and a leather ball. So, rivaling is an act that Michigan not only does, they excel in it.

Part two of the definition, “the state of being a rival”. Everything that was said in the paragraph above can be said for Ohio State. They hate us, we hate them. Hell, the entire state of Ohio tries to get rid of the letter “M” for an entire week. I’m willing to put ownership of this lowly frequented blog down that if you ask 100 Ohio State fans who their biggest rival is, 99 of them will say the University of Michigan. To question if Michigan is in the state of being Ohio State’s rival would almost be as dumb as shortening your alphabet to 25 letters for almost 2% of the year.

Competition. If you’ve read to this point and expected me to argue that Michigan had won games that they haven’t, you can probably close out the window. I know the statistics. Michigan has won two of the last seventeen contests against Ohio State. Even Ohio State fans are smart enough to tell you that isn’t very good. An unacceptable amount of wins that Michigan fans have no choice but to accept. It is our reality. We have been flat out dominated by Ohio State and the likes of Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Sometimes the good guy doesn’t always win. When push comes to shove, Michigan hasn’t been a rival in terms of competition. It doesn’t matter how close the games have been, who the quarterbacks have been, or where the spots on the field were; Michigan lost.

While meeting two out of the three prongs for being a rival, Michigan misses out on the most important one. But, a rivalry isn’t decided by what’s written in the history books. It’s not what arbitrary electronic numbers are shown on a scoreboard one Saturday a year. It is in the hearts and minds of a fan base. When a stunningly gorgeous baby boy is born at 3:13 am in Saginaw, Mi and raised in Standish to despise anything related to Columbus, Ohio, that is a rivalry. When an Ohio State graduate delivers his last pizza of the night, backs his ’91 Civic into a parked car, and then decides not to leave his information because that Lamborghini has a Michigan license plate, that is a rivalry.

Now, we come to the year 2018 of our Lord. The B1G East title, a spot in the B1G Championship game, and a shot at the College Football Playoffs lay in the balance on Saturday afternoon. While the competition aspect of the rivalry has been dead for 10 years or so, it doesn’t matter on November 24th. This is the biggest game in Michigan’s history since the same teams met in 2006. Not only is all the aforementioned on the line, but this is also a legacy game for Jim Harbaugh. There is absolutely no reason Michigan should lose this year when looking at this game on paper. Michigan has a clear advantage at every position except wide receiver and, maybe, quarterback. But, as I said before, this game isn’t played on paper. At the end of the day, this is THE Game. Both teams will be fired up and should need no extra motivation outside of the game and what’s at stake.

This game is everything for Michigan fans. Well, it is everything for me at least. If Michigan ends up losing this game, I may never be able to care about anything ever again. I will be broken mentally and, quite possibly, physically. I have already seen my passion for sports wane down over the past couple of years. Whether it be getting a job, having more important things to worry about, or simply just getting older, I just don’t get as excited as I do for sports anymore. Yes, I still get juiced up while watching the games. Wins are still sweet and defeat is still bitter, but not like it used to be. Until this season, this season of Michigan football has restoked a competitive fire inside me for events that I’m not even competing in. If Michigan loses, I may never be able to recover. I’m sure there are some sick bastards out there who would love nothing more than to see me and millions of other Maize & Blue fans have their collective hearts ripped out. While I understand the hatred of Harbaugh because he is bombastic, unabashed, and honest, I just can’t simply wrap my head around not wanting Michigan to win unless you’re an OSU fan. Some people would rather see a coach who enables and silently endorses repeated domestic abuse to come out on top again. They would rather see someone who actively harbors murderers on their team win this game. They would rather see someone who fakes health scares in order to draw sympathy when his teams are playing poorly win the B1G East again.

 

Pause a second for me to get off my high horse…

 

BUT, I have a message for the Ohio State University and all who cheer for them or Michigan’s downfall. This year is a new year. For Michigan to start a dynasty over the B1G East, if not now, when? The time is high for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh to do what he was brought in do. Dominate. A victory Saturday may not only usher in a new era of Michigan reign, but it may also end the coaching career of the conveniently-forgetting Urban Meyer. His time is up. The bell tolls for thee, Urban. To quote the great Buhdist monk Bodhidharma, “Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.”. When karma catches up to Urban, he must address it by name. Karma has a name on November 24th, its name is Michigan.

PREDICTION: Michigan 28- Ohio State 17

(These 1000+ words would be pointless if I didnt predict Michigan to win)

 

 

The Lions Have Quit & So Have I

BY: DALTON

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.

Friday Football Preview

By: DALTON

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

The Season is Over

BY: DALTON

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.

Friday Football Preview 11/2

BY: DALTON

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

The Lions Suck and it’s Halloween

BY: DALTON

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.

Lions:

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.

Halloween:

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.

In concl

Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON

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

I’m Going All In on Football

BY: DALTON

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.

MICHIGAN:

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.

LIONS:

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.

Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON

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

The State of the Lions

BY:DALTON

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.

LOOKING BACK:

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:

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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.

LOOKING AHEAD:

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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.

DOWN THE FIELD: Week 4

BY: DALTON

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.

DOWN THE FIELD: Week Three

BY: DALTON

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.

DOWN THE FIELD: Week Two

BY:DALTON

Forgive for any mistakes in reporting, I have a few good reasons. 1) I was at the game in San Francisco so I did not have the benefit of other angles and replays. 2) My flight home had to abort during taking off because of engine failure. So, what I’m getting at is that Y’all should NOT criticize me for this article. In fact, everyone should be praising me. I am a victim…a survivor……….a hero. Not everyone survives a plane crash then goes on to blog about a completely unrelated subject. My picture should be hung next to George Washington in every school room. I should have my praises sung about by hundreds of thousands in the most angelic choir the United Nations could assemble. I should be considered a God. No, the God. But, I’m too humble to accept these praises. I’m just a typical grind it out from 9-5 with my brothers in the coal (the energy source that built this country) mines where I will retire at 62 and die of black lung at 68.

As for the game, at least the Lions looked better? Maybe? It is just so tough to watch that product on the field. They constantly blow assignments and miss tackles, along with not run blocking at all. I will give them this though, when it could have gotten ugly (like it did last Monday) the Lions buckled down, got some stops, and scored a few times. Hell, they had a chance to drive the field and at least tie at the end. They didn’t, but they at least had a chance. Which leads me to my next point, the offensive play calling in the first three-quarters of the game continues to be mind-blowing. This isn’t a new problem, either. Ever since JBC took over as the OC, the Lions have made it their calling card to have a slow start and a furious finish. That type of offense is not sustainable in the NFL. It worked one season to the tune of nine wins and a playoff appearance. I don’t understand why they can’t open up the offense early on to get a lead. Why do the Lions absolutely refuse to throw the ball downfield? Look at this chart that I found on twitter (from Albert Breer, I think):

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I don’t know if JBC doesn’t trust Stafford to throw the ball more than ten yards or not, but I feel I can confidently say that Matt has the ability to average more than four yards a completion. The running game is completely doomed forever. I have absolutely no idea how to fix it. We’ve tried getting help on the line through draft and free agency. We’ve tried getting new running backs. None of it works. I would like to say its a scheme thing but these woes have lasted over multiple head coaches and coordinators. The Lions may never have a 100-yard rusher ever again.

I won’t really comment much on the defense because until they prove otherwise, they STINK. But, it would be unfair if I didn’t acknowledge a few positives. 1) They got some stops when they absolutely needed them. 2) They found some sort of pass rush. That’s about it. They still can’t stop mediocre running backs and losing Darius Slay to a concussion won’t make the defense better.

Now, the Lions absolutely deserved to lose this game based on the way they played. However, Max Kellerman, it wouldn’t be a Lions loss without some officiating controversy. We all know that a flag wiped away an interception that would have given the Lions the ball on the 3-yard line with a couple minutes on the clock. We all know that the flag was thrown away from the play. We all know that the “infraction” was a holding call that occurred within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. We all know that you can’t be called for defensive holding within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. We also all know that NFL really doesn’t care about if they get the call right or not. *Forrest Gump Voice* Thats all I have to say about that.

Now, we are on to next week where the Pats will probably stomp our teeth in on national television. Sweet. Same Old Lions is officially back in a BIG way.