Friday Football Preview

BY: DALTON POTOCKI

There are reasons that I missed some usually scheduled blogs the past few weeks. That reason? Work. Yea, I have a job where I make money. Not a lot of money, but enough to pay the bills. I have a free 20 minutes or so, so heres the first Friday Football Preview of 2019!

 

Michigan vs BYE: Thank god. If Michigan played Wisconsin this week, they might lose by 100. This is the perfect time for the offense to get their shit together, hold on to the ball, and actually start calling some different plays. It has been so frustrating watching this team. Yea, they are in shotgun but they still run it in between the tackles every play so has anything actually changed? The defense is fine.

Arizona State @ MSU: The Spartans might be legit this year. We all knew their defense was gonna be one of the best in the Big 10, but now they have a shot at being one of the best in the nation at the end of the season. The biggest surprise though was the offense last week. It looked pretty fresh and Lewerke showed why people were so high on him after his senior season. I expect MSU to absolutely roll this game.

Chargers @ Lions: The Lions tied, yes. But, believe it or not, there were a lot of positives to take away from the Cardinals game. The offense looked good and the play calling was balanced for 75% of the game. The “time out” drive was pretty impressive for the fact that the Lions were able to run the ball very well despite Arizona knowing they were trying to run it. The defense looked great until they took their foot off the gas. It just seemed like the errors in that game were brought on by the coaching staff and those errors are much easier to fix than having players who don’t make plays. The Chargers are pretty beat up coming into this one but Phil Rivers and his merry band of children still can move the ball up and down the field. The defense is quite good too with Bosa and Ingram on the line. If Decker cant play or plays like he did last week, it will be a long day for Stafford. All that being said, I like the Lions a lot in this spot. Big time “prove it” week for both the players and the staff.

 

 

NFL Gambling Picks:

Since gambling is all the rage online now, here are my picks for the weekend. Spreads are courtesy of Bovada:

Green Bay -3 vs Minnesota

Miami +19.5 vs New England

Lions +1.5 vs Los Angeles

Jaguars +8.5 @ Texans

Browns -7 @ Jets

 

Hope Returned

BY: DALTON

The blazing summer sun has significantly cooled and the sweeping winds bring a certain bite. But what is it exactly in the wind that you feel? Is it the changing of the seasons? Its certainly possible. With the season change comes cooler weather. But, I don’t think that’s what is giving this invisible gust its tinge. There is an energy that follows the late summer gales. From experience, that isn’t the start of school. No, this unidentifiable force is something that brings along the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the depths of the Mariana Trench. This is no fleeting feeling. These winds bring something to stay. In the whirlwind of changing seasons, football stops, stays, and takes over every tangible breath.

Every new season brings the one thing that most fans lose after a couple months; hope. Maybe, just some way, there is a path for your favorite team to capture the championship. Whether it be through pure dominant force or that every other team had a slew of injuries, there is always a way. Sure, you can lie to everyone and say your team is “going through a rebuilding year” or that “if they catch a lucky break they might be able to contend”, but deep down in the pits of your soul, you’re thinking there’s a way. It’s this weird thing we do with sports. The saying goes “expect the best but prepare for the worst” and it is a mighty fine way to live life. In football though, its sort of flipped. Prepare for the worst but expect the best.

Do I know that the Lions will not win the Super Bowl this year? Yes. I do. It sucks. BUT, maybe.  What if Patricia’s defensive philosophies continue to grow and the Lions have a top 5 defense? What if Bevell is the coordinator that can finally maximize Stafford in his 10th and most important season? Hell, Kerryon Johnson was one of the best backs last year before he got hurt and in this fan’s mind that is certainly a sustainable pace. The Lions got better this off season, that’s not me just slurring my words while drunk on Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid. Sure, a lot of other teams in the NFL got better too, but that’s not fun to think about. Then I start thinking about past seasons. The Eagles came out of no where to win the Super Bowl, same thing with Ravens a few years back. I tell myself that the NFL is this weird and wacky league where anything can happen. If you come up and ask me how I think the Lions will do this year, I’ll probably tell ya 8-8 because I know that’s the right prediction. But, if you asked my soul, you may have to lock me up into an insane asylum. Hope. 

It feels like Michigan will never be able to beat Ohio State. I told myself after last year’s implosion that I’ll never get excited for Michigan football until they actually beat OSU. Then all of a sudden here comes Josh Gattis and this new offense that will be the best of all worlds. It will have big plays, tempo, ball control, and Speed in Space™. That receiving group is too good to fail. Don Brown says that he’s done some soul searching and knows what he did wrong. He is going to go to more zone and respect the speed of opposing offenses. Dax Hill is just Jabril Peppers but bigger. I mean, yea, the defensive line lost its stars, but the depth of this years team! Now there is nothing but anticipation and National Championship aspirations. That’s whats great about college football too. Each season can be drastically different. You’re not dealing with contracts and free agents. You’re dealing with boys turning in to men. A crap shoot on genetics. There is this aura of the unknown that blankets college football like Jourdan Lewis on George Rushing. Weird, right? 8 months ago I thought Michigan would never be able to cross the bottomless pit of morals that is Ohio State. I was corpse of a fan. Now? There isn’t a doubt in my mind that we run them off the field in November. Its crazy. Its wild. It cant be measured or captured. Hope.

While it is so much fun to let the mind run wild, wanna know the best part about football season? Its the ride. The ups and downs of a 12 and 16 game season. If your college loses on Saturday, maybe your favorite NFL can win on Sunday and salvage the weekend. If they both win, you cant wait until next weekend. If they both lose? Lord help you. It’s watching games that may help your team in a tie breaker down the road. Its rooting for The Citadel to put a scare into Florida to knock them down a couple spots in the polls. Think about that for a second. Not rooting for the Citadel to WIN, it would be awesome if they did, but rooting them to just keep it competitive for 75% of a football game so 12 humans in a remote location may read the narrative that your favorite team is inherently better than a different team based on nothing but perception. The texts between four different group chats that are all essentially saying the same thing, either the sky is limit or its crashing down harder than the NCAA on a student athlete who put non-approved peanut butter on his bagel. That’s a 4-game suspension! The tailgating hours and hours before a game. The copious amounts of food and beer consumed while telling war stories about the best and worst games you’ve been to in person. Giving a complete stranger a hug like you’re seeing a long lost sibling for the first time in years simply because a man, who gets paid more in a year than you’ll ever make,  kicked an oblong ball through two poles from 126 feet away as an arbitrary amount of time ticks off a digital display. The best part about football is everything about football. Will both of my favorite teams season end short of where I want them to? Probably not. But, hot damn, am I gonna have a good time along the way. 

I’m Ready for Charlie Weis

BY: DALTON

I’m sure that by now, you know that Jim Bob Cooter was not brought back as the offensive coordinator for the Lions. What a weird tenure as OC he had, right? When Lombardi was fired, JBC was a breath of fresh air. Then, he absolutely lit it up the next season. His second full season as OC was alright. In his third and most recent season, he was awful. It was certainly time for change. Obviously, injuries and scheme changes played a big factor in what/how JBC called a game, but it was clear that he cant work in the Patricia system. I know JBC is highly thought of through out the league and I can guarantee he will have another OC job by 2021.

There are a lot of names out there to fill in the Lions OC vacancy. Adam Gase is the ideal hire but I HIGHLY doubt the Lions will be able to get him. He is already getting interviews for head coaching positions and should get one considering how many positions are open. The only way I see Gase coming to Detroit is if he thinks to himself that he cant succeed at the OC. Even then its a long shot because, after the year Stafford had, there area few more enticing OC jobs available. There are a few other names in the mix, a few Rams assistants, an in-house name, and a couple retreads. All of those names are irrelevant.

The next Offensive Coordinator for the Lions is going to be Charlie Weis. It just seems too perfect with all of his connections to Patricia and Quinn. It also seems like a very Lions thing to hire a coach who hasnt coached football in 5 years and coached in the NFL in 9. Do I think Weis is the right move? Not at all. Will I be intrigued to see ol’ Chucky Dub back on the sidelines? You betcha. The man is a character in every sense of the word. From being huge to having a parrot that attacks his house guests, the man is football guy through and through. I really don’t think a Charlie Weis hire will help the Lions but considering how poorly Patricia’s first year went, I’m not sold that the Lions are set up for future success. Again, I dont want the Lions to hire Weis, I’m just ready for it.

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

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.