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:

Capture

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:

Capture2.JPG

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):

DnRNMPkUcAAzRYF.jpg

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.

 

Friday Football Preview

BY:DALTON

Michigan State Bye: Usually I hate when a bye week comes early in a teams season. But, after a Utah State scare during week one and an upset loss in the late desert to Arizona State, this bye couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the Spartans. As a Michigan fan, it kills me to say this, but I still think MSU has a good team this year. I can’t explain the slow start this year, but Lewerke is a good quarterback and Dantonio is a good coach so this ship isn’t sunk. They have a lot of figuring out to do on the defensive side of the ball and I expect them to get it done before their tilt against Indiana.

 

SMU Mustangs @ Michigan Wolverines: This is a pretty straightforward preview. As long as the Wolverines don’t choke on their own spit, they should easily role the ‘Stangs. In every facet of the game, Michigan is considered better. Now, an upset is always possible so please don’t screenshot this article and paste it all over social media. PREDICTION: UM 42- SMU 7

 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers: The Lions STINK out loud. The defense is porous and the offense is non-existent, not a great combo. The 49ers are a solid squad despite a loss to the Vikings last week. Garrapolo didn’t have a great performance against Minnesota but the defense he plays this week will be a lot easier to toss against so the Jimmy G hype train will get right back on track. Lions can win this game is if they somehow hold San Francisco to 21 points or less. Sadly, that won’t happen. Despite me being in attendance, Lions still lose. PREDICTION: SF 28- DET 17

DOWN THE FIELD: Week One

BY: DALTON

What a roller coaster of a game. By roller coaster, I mean:

Holy fuck what an awful game. Absolutely disgusting, embarrassing, and downright unacceptable. I was willing to give this team a chance after their shit preseason. Hoping, wishing, praying that it was just guys getting reps in different positions. Alas, it was not the case. After a rookie mistake by Sam Darnold, the Lions looked under coached, underprepared, uninspired, and every other word that describes our team as being absolute trash. I hope all the players and coaches remember that on the opening night, at home, in primetime, that by the middle of the fourth quarter the only sounds echoing through the tomb known as Ford Field were” J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets”. It’s the most embarrassing day to be a Lions fan since they lost to the Packers in week 17 of 2008 when they completed the 0-16 season. I cant put into words how disgusted and shocked I am in this game. But, why should I be shocked? Have the Lions ever been anything but a steaming pile of a team that gets horrible QBs paid (Matt Flynn) and the punchline of any NFL joke not involving the Browns? And maybe that’s the worst part. The Lions are a significantly worse franchise than Cleveland and we never get any of the credit. What’s funny? After the opening drive of the second half, it was tied 17-17. I want to say the wheels fell off, but that would imply we had wheels. Or a car. Or a chance.

Let’s start with the offense, I guess. It was absolutely atrocious.  This was the worst Matt Stafford has looked in his entire career. I’m usually a hardcore Stafford defender but there is no excusing that shit show. Four interceptions and I’m not even going to look up the yards or attempts/completions. Not worth my time because Stafford made that game look like it wasn’t worth his. I was hoping that this offense was going to be different than the one last year, and I guess I was right. It was much worse. The offensive line that we bolstered up the past couple of years couldn’t open any holes up and allowed constant pressure. The two new running backs we got this offseason combined for a total of 39 yards. Why the hell would we draft Kerryon Johnson if he doesn’t get any reps until the second quarter? Let me remind everyone that the offense had negative two yards in the first quarter. Jim Bob Cooter took this offense two steps backward. The receivers, outside of Golladay, couldn’t catch a single thing. Multiple opportunities for touchdowns or at least drive-extending catches and the Lions just decided they would be better off to let the ball hit the turf. NEWS FLASH, we aren’t better off not catching balls.

Now for the defense. Have you no pride? Besides getting ran over to the tune of 169 yards, you let a rookie quarterback complete 75% of passes. You guys weren’t even close to stopping them on third down. No pass rush, no run stop, bad tackling, and awful coverage will result in a blow out loss to a team that finished with five wins in the last two seasons. They couldn’t even force Darnold into third and long situations. Matt Patricia is supposed to be a defensive guy and the defense looked worse than the offense, in my opinion. At least the offense showed a little something (Golladay, two-minute drill, first drive of the second half). The defense had absolutely nothing outside of the worst thrown ball in history by Darnold. Ziggy is hurt again and I’m ready to let him walk. A hell of a talent when healthy but I’d rather take a mediocre guy for 16 games than an elite talent for three. Jared Davis looks slower than frozen molasses and he still doesn’t understand that when you shoot the hole and see the ball carrier in the backfield, you have to tackle him. Maybe next year he will get it.

Special teams even sucked eggs. Gave up multiple long punt returns, including a 78-yard touchdown, and missed a couple of field goals. Thing is? I’m not even that mad. These were kind of like “of course they would miss those/give up that return”. Not mad, just disappointed.

After tonight, looking at their schedule through poop-colored glasses, they have a legit chance to start off the season 0-12. But, we’ve been there before. I guess if you have to look for a silver lining, its probably that the Lions have shattered all of our hopes and dreams in the first week so that way the emotional stress of when we lose by 30 points at home in December, it isn’t as bad. I am ashamed of the product that was on the field on national television. It would be awesome if there was a single player or unit or coach that we could blame, but there isn’t. It was everyone involved. I’ll even take some of the blame for believing that this team could be something different. If there is any life lesson that I can learn from the Lions, its that I should never believe in anything and always set the bar so low that if I ever succeed, no one will ever care because they know embarrassing failure is just around the corner. Fuck this team.

P.S. Just learned via Dave Birkett that the loss tonight was the second worse loss for a Lions coach in their first game. SECOND LMAO!!!!!

9/9 MAILBAG​!!!!!!!!

BY: DALTON

Darin, Mt. Pleasant, Mi: “Are you discouraged by a less-than-awesome preseason?”

Well, it certainly was “less-than-awesome”. With a new head coach, it is tough to pass judgment about what we’ve seen in the preseason. You just don’t know if the team doesn’t look great because they are bad or are they just working in players into situations that are uncomfortable to them because of new schemes. This first game against the Jets will be a sign to if it will be a long season or not. If they come out prepared and ready, then this preseason was just a fluke. If not, I don’t want to talk about it.

Zack, Mt. Pleasant, Mi: “Thoughts on the Zettel release?”

It came as a shock to many of the Detroit Lions faithful. My best guess is that he just simply wasn’t a scheme fit. After a great start to the 2017 campaign, he trailed off only having half of a sack for the last seven games of the seasons. I certainly wish him the best of luck with Cleveland.

Dave, Standish, Mi: “Thoughts on the defensive line and a lack of a pass rush”

What a perfect question to follow the Zettel one. Last season the pass rush, or lack thereof, was the biggest issue on the defense. Getting Ziggy Ansah back is going to help a lot and hopefully, the acquisition of Romeo Okawa and Eli Harold will help. To say I’m skeptical would be an optimistic viewpoint to say the least. The Lions will have to get to the quarterback without linebacker help if they want to contain teams to some decent scoring averages.

Will, Oakland, Ca: “Will Kerryon Johnson be a top 10 running back this year? If not how good will he be?”

If Kerryon Johnson is a top ten running back this season, then the Lions rushing attack will make Emmit Smith look like a lost child just wandering lost without a care in the world. In other words, no. Not this season, anyway. How good can he be? I have absolutely no idea. We didn’t get to see much of him in the preseason so his role is still in question for this season but going forward, there is no reason to not think he will be the lead back. I would stay away from him for fantasy purposes.

Blake, Standish, Mi: “Do you see the Lions making the playoffs? If so will they make it over the hump and get their first playoff win since 91?”

Yes, because I’m an optimist. No, because they’re the Lions.

Eli, Baltimore, Md: “What’s the optimal way to watch non-national Lions games from outside of their normal coverage area? Preferably Legal”

Sunday Ticket, and if you don’t want to pay for it, there’s always “totally legal” Reddit streams.

Trent, Auburn Hills, Mi: “How many different pencils will coach put in his ear?”

If we are talking about the game on Monday night, I’ll set the over/under at 1.5 and hammer the under. For the whole season? I’d say a California Redwood’s worth.

Andrew, Grand Rapids, Mi: “As of now what position do you think the Lions need to address in the first round next year? What free agents currently do you think could make an instant impact on our team, if any?”

Going with my gut, I would have to say the Lions will need to address the pass rush via the draft. Obviously, who they draft all depends on who’s available when they draft because the Lions are still a far way away from being able to afford a draft reach. As for free agents, I have faith enough in Bob Quinn that if there was a free agent that could make an instant impact that they would be signed. So, essentially, there isn’t a free agent that would make an instant impact.

Ashton, Fort Myers Beach, Fl: “Do you see the Lions winning more games than the Wolverines?”

Out of all the questions people submitted, this one was probably my favorite. I obviously love both the Wolverines and the Lions. It’s like asking me to pick which child I think will be more successful in life. I simply can’t do it. But, for the sake of the article, I’ll say the Wolverines finish with more wins. Michigan will finish with 10 wins, including a bowl win. The Lions will finish with 9 wins.

Austin, Ann Arbor, Mi: “What is the optimal length of Matt Patricia’s for the Lions to be successful?”

I’m going to assume that the word “beard” is supposed to be in there. If that is the question, it will have to be between Lumberjack and Tom Hanks from Castaway length.

Evan, Ann Arbor, Mi: “Is Matt Stafford a top 31 quarterback in the NFL?”

Not even close. Give me Tebow or give me death.

Danny, Parts Unknown, USA: “Is Ameer Abdullah on the roster by the end of the season? Does Golden Tate resign? Best place to buy jeans?”

Abdullah will be on the roster by the end of the year. It is tough to trade players for equal return in the NFL and given how early in the season the trade deadline is, I would assume the Lions will just keep Ameer on the roster for the sake of special teams/insurance policy. As for Tate, I actually think the Lions get a deal done with him. Not sure why but I think both sides understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. Best place for jeans is either Kohls (when you have a 30% off) or any type of discount retailer. They’re just jeans. No need to get fancy.

Matt, Austin, Tx: “Are we eternally cursed? If not, what would break the curse?”

So, for spring break my senior year we went to New Orleans. On one of the first days we were there, we went into a magic shop. Me, quite inebriated, asked what the only ways to prevent black magic were. Black magic is one of the things I fear most in life. The lovely shop keep gave me the worst possible answer, “You can’t really fend off black magic”. At that point in time, I knew I had to piss really bad and that the Lions will never win a Super Bowl.

 

Michigan or God?

BY: DALTON

Lord Almighty, its here at last! After a painstakingly long offseason of twists and turns, the fruits of our fandom labor are about to be harvested. Whether those passion pomegranates are sweet or sour will be known by 7:30 pm EST. On the road, versus a higher ranked opponent, week one is not a must-win football game by any means. What tonight is, to borrow a term from my Catholic brethren,  is a chance at perception salvation. Last football season, the Maize and Blue had the dullest, most unimaginative, and frustrating offense ever put onto a football field. It didn’t help that the Wolverines were forced to game plan with John O’Korn under center, but the coaching staff didn’t do themselves any favors, either. So, in a very un-Catholic move, Jim Harbaugh saw a glaring problem and replaced those in charge. A whole new offensive staff has moved into Schembechler Hall and, come tonight, will be under the spotlight of anxious fans. Nobody is worried about the defense. Don Brown has proven every year that he can coach his unit to be one of the best in the country. This season they return 10 starters, the most Brown has had return during his tenure at Michigan. Obviously, replacing Mo Hurst is going to be the biggest personnel challenge this season and should not be overlooked. Hell, Hurst was possibly the best interior defensive lineman to ever wear the winged helmet. But, I think its safe to say that if this year’s defense isn’t ranked in the top five nationally, something went horribly wrong.

Tonight’s game is more than just a game. I would love a Michigan victory, make no qualms about it. But, if they lose tonight it will be the way in which they lose that will determine how we should feel about this season. So no matter the result, Michigan football needs to move on to step “I” of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System. Inspire hope. If the Wolverines come out and Shae Patterson is 70% of what the beat writers have said he is, the offense looks balanced and competent, and the defense is as stingy as a rusted out hinge and still somehow lose, I’ll be alright. I won’t be happy that they lost, but my hope for this season will not be left on the field in South Bend. Harbaugh and Company just need to show me that something has changed since the end of last season. Show me progress, show me some creativity, show me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, show me there is a reason to believe!

Now, we come to the headline question of the article. When the Michigan Wolverines take the field against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend tonight, who’s side will I ultimately be on? Michigan, the school I grew up loving, went to, paid tuition to, and graduated from? Or, Notre Dame, the school with the foremost connection to eternal salvation? It’s not an easy decision, that’s for sure. I’m not sure I can give a definitive answer because my soul rests in the balance. I will say though, that come January, I’d rather be staying up late on a Monday night than waking up early on a Sunday morning.