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. 

Recapping Each Lions Draft Pick

BY: DALTON

So, the NFL Draft happened a few days ago. First off, I would like to thank Mr. Crespi for hosting/cooking for me. Secondly, Nashville looked like there was no less than a trillion people there for the draft.

Here’s how shit is gonna go down in this blog, I’m going to touch on each round, give each a grade, and give an overall grade at the end. Fair warning, I will probably be higher on a few of these picks than others because, for some reason, I am a Lions optimist. Obviously, these are subject to change if each pick becomes a perennial pro-bowler but all we have is now so deal with it, I guess.

  • First Round: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, Pick 8
    • Let me be perfectly clear, Hockenson will be a fine NFL player. There is no reason to think he wont be an instant competitor and could possibly be a top 10 TE by the end of the season. This pick just hurt a little bit for a couple of reasons. The first being that we almost had UK pass rusher Josh Allen. He was an absolute dream scenario. The other is that Ed Oliver could make this pick exactly like Ebron/Aaron Donald. In Patricia’s system, Hockenson will be a valuable asset but considering the recent TE draft history, if Oliver becomes an All-Pro, Hockenson will always be remembered as the guy we picked instead of Oliver or even Devin Bush. As fair or unfair that it is, its the way it will be. All that being said, they addressed one of their biggest needs with the best TE in the draft, so its worth something
    • GRADE: B-
  • Second Round: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii, Pick 43
    • After the collective “who?!?” from the Lions overly-loyal fan base, the research into the Lions newest LB commenced. From all sources, it looks like this pick was a reach. Some analysts said he would be there in the late 2nd/early 3rd or even Day 3. But the Lions saw something in Jahlani that fit their mold. He is big, physical, and aggressive. His 2018 was cut short due to injury but I guess the tape was good enough for Quinn to reach. This is the ultimate “wait and see” pick. The 2nd round isn’t exactly the round for “wait and see” picks but if he fits the mold, fills a need, and might not have made it to them in the 3rd round then I guess that’s good enough for the Lions’ front office.
    • Grade: C-
  • Third Round: Will Harris, S, Boston College, Pick 81
    • I don’t know a whole lot about this pick either but he seems like a HARD hitter. It is never a bad thing to draft a safety who is able to fly all over the field and is willing to throw his body at anything that moves. This dude is a leader too, being a captain for his senior season at BC. He will likely replace Glover Quin when his time is up in Detroit. Hopefully he isn’t called on to play safety this season but can contribute on Special Teams
    • Grade: B
  • Fourth Round: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson, Pick 117
    • Not a whole lot to say about the Bryant pick. He was a member of that Clemson D-Line (three players were drafted in the top 17 picks), but his season was sort of derailed with a pectoral tear. He opted to get surgery after the season. That could be why he wasn’t as hyped up as his teammates on the line. Hopefully he will be fully healthy and ready to prove himself in training camp. Still, for someone who played multiple positions on one of the dominant groups in the nation, pretty decent value to get him in the 4th round.
    • Grade: B
  • Fifth Round: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State, Pick 146
    • This is by far my favorite pick in the draft. Hes big (6’2) and rangy. He emulates his game after Darius Slay. Many draft experts had him projected as a Day 2 guy. Hell, some of them had him as a top-4 corner in the draft. For the Lions to get him in the 5th is an absolute steal. I fully expect him to come in and compete for that second outside corner position.
    • Grade: A
  • Sixth Round: Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion, Pick 184 and Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland, Pick 186
    • All I really know about Fulgham is that he was a deep threat for Old Dominion. It looks like if he is any good he might be the replacement or a stop gap for when Marvin Jones leaves in a few years. As for Ty Johnson, this is another pick that I absolutely love. While he had his senior year at Maryland held back by some injuries, when healthy he averaged 7.7 ypc and has explosive speed. Something the Lions have lacked since Jahvid Best. He might not contribute right away, but he could be an excellent compliment to our future beast, Kerryon Johnson.
    • Grade: B+
  • Seventh Round: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia, Pick 224 and PJ Johnson, DL, Arizona, Pick 229
    • They’re 7th round picks. They will fight for roster spots and to contribute on special teams. I could see Nauta taking the Michael Roberts role and I could see PJ Johnson being a heavy-package interior defensive lineman. These late picks and UDFAs are like free gambles. There isn’t much into them and maybe you find a diamond in the rough. Simply because the Lions made picks and didn’t let the clock run out…
    • Grade: B

 

For me, it was a pretty lackluster first couple of days and the back end of this draft really saved it, for now. Obviously we have to let everything play out but this draft kind of stuck with what Quinn had done in the draft in his time in Detroit. Pick high character/high floor guys who will contribute. I would have liked to see him and Patricia try to swing for the fences in the first round with Oliver or Bush, but I guess I will be content with constant singles and doubles.
OVERALL GRADE: B-, simply off the strength of 3rd round and on.

Lions Schedule Release Predictions

BY: DALTON

The NFL Schedules were released last night. This year, teams were actually very entertaining when posting. I will include the best announcements at the bottom of the blog. But first, lets break down the Lions schedule:

 

Week 1 @ Cardinals: The Lions have always had issues in the desert. With a new coach and maybe a new quarterback, the Cards will be tough to scout. But, I feel the Lions talent is greater than theirs. PREDICTION: Win, 1-0

Week 2 vs Chargers: The Chargers were a phenomenal team last year and I expect them to be just as good during the regular season. Tough home opener for the Lions. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-1

Week 3 @ Eagles: Going on the road to Philly means only bad things will happen. Both to the Lions and any visiting fans. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-2

Week 4 vs Chiefs: Last year the Lions defense balled out against the higher powered offenses. Hopefully they can do the same and keep it competitive. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-3

Week 5 Bye: Rough start to the season. The good news? The first four games are the toughest of the season.

Week 6 @ Packers: In Lambeau but the Lions have kinda dominated the Pack lately. Gonna get cocky here and say Patricia starts 1-0 vs LaFleur. PREDICTION: Win, 2-3

Week 7 vs Vikings: This has been the toughest one to pick thus far. The Vikings could snap back to being the team that they were in 2017 or they can continue the step-back year that had in 2018. Since its at Ford Field… PREDICTION: Win, 3-3

Week 8 vs Giants: Revenge game all over the place for the Lions. The Giants strength is in their running game, obviously. Combine that with Eli still at the helm and no OBJ, this might be the Lions easiest win of the season. PREDICTION: Win, 4-3

Week 9 @ Raiders: The road wont be kind to the Lions in this one. I dont think the Raiders will be particularly good this year, but they have retooled a little bit and I feel like Gruden will get a little more with the times. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-4

Week 10 @ Bears: This is going to be a classic NFC North bout. Not many points and probably some pretty ugly football. Two strong defenses against a couple of QBs people still arent really sure about. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-5

Week 11 vs Cowboys: Does anyone know if the Cowboys are going to be good this year? They have weapons, but they also still have Jason Garrett. What ever, this is going to be a classic Lions loss. I can feel it deep in my plums. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-6

Week 12 @ Redskins: Just a couple of miserable franchises going back and forth in what will likely be a game Fox only airs in the teams’ respective markets. I think the Lions are actually a little bit better team here. PREDICTION: Win, 5-6

Week 13 vs Bears: The Lions will avoid the 4th straight loss to the Bears and defend their turf on Thanksgiving to keep their meager playoff hopes alive. I am not sure how but they will find a way to keep us interested.  PREDICTION: Win, 6-6

Week 14 @ Vikings: Minnesota has a real home field advantage. They will use it to full effect and propel Kirk Cousins to go 16-28 for 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Just enough to get by a sleeping Lions team. PREDICTION: Loss, 6-7

Week 15 vs Buccaneers: I probably couldn’t name 4 Bucs players. For that reason, I am going to assume they are trash. The Lions are also home. PREDICTION: Win, 7-7

Week 16 @ Broncos: Denver air is another strong home field advantage that the Lions will have to try and overcome. Huff and Puff as they might, the Lions wont blow this house down. PREDICTION:Loss, 7-8

Week 17 vs Packers: Aaron Rodgers? More like AARP-on Rodgers, this man is old, fragile, and basically retired with how many games he’s been missing. I’m still scared of him like I am scared of how a WWII Vet could kick my ass still, but finishing with a losing record in my predictions would be dumb. PREDICTION: Win, 8-8 and no playoffs

 

As promised, here are my favorite schedule announcement videos:

 

Lions Free Agency Day 1 Grades

BY: DALTON

What an amazing first day for the Lions in free agency! It seemed like it was one after another after another after another. Schefty and Rappaport were BIZZY with the Lions news in the early afternoon. While free agent signings don’t win games in January, it sure is a lot of fun in March. This effects their draft strategy immensely, but lets worry about that later. Lets talk about the Lions winning the first day of free agency.

Danny Amendola

Contract: 1 year/ $4.25 million base + $1.5 million in incentives

Thoughts:

This was the first deal of the day for both the Lions and the NFL. While Amendola isn’t the same player he was in New England, the Lions are still getting a solid slot receiver and veteran. Did they pay a little more than they should have for a year of 33-year old Danny Amendola? Yea, probably. But if he hits all his marks and earns that extra $1.5 million, he will be worth it. This is obviously just a stop gap solution for a looming problem, but the Lions could certainly have done worse. He will fill the Golden Tate role of being a chain-mover and Stafford’s safety blanket.

Grade: B-

Justin Coleman

Contract: 4 years/ $36 million

Thoughts:

When this move came across the twitter feed, I think I heard a collective “Huh?” from the Lions faithful. After doing a little research, like the hardcore journalist I am, this move is a strong one. I was puzzled to learn that the Lions cut Nevin Lawson. I thought he was an average corner for most of the year. But, Bob Quinn went out and got the best nickle corner on the market while also paying him like it. Coleman is the highest ever paid nickle corner, but in today’s NFL the nickle scheme is being used more and more often. To be able to have the best one is a huge plus for this defense. Did they over pay? Yes. But I feel like Detroit has to overpay for these types of things. The best part of this deal? The fact that he is only 24 years old. We will have him locked up through the prime of his career.

Grade: B+

Trey Flowers

Contract: 5 years/ $85(?) million

Thoughts:

The crown jewel of this years free agency. As I was doing my research on the Coleman deal, my phone started to get flooded with updates from twitter, group chats, and individual texts. I was pretty taken aback. I knew the Lions were in the running but last I heard was that Flowers wanted to go play down in Miami with Brian Flores. I was very surprised and very excited. While the exact numbers of the deal haven’t been announced yet, it is strongly rumored to be in the $17 million/year range. It is a hefty price, but when you consider the Lions were paying Ansah that same price last season, it isn’t that hard of a deal to stomach. My favorite part of the deal, much like the Coleman deal, is that we will have one of the best players at their position locked up through their prime. The price tag may look high, but I think Flowers will be worth every penny.

Grade: A+

Jesse James

Contract: ???/???

Thoughts:

Since we don’t know any of the contract details yet, it is kinda tough to give this deal a true grade. But, just based off player skill and need, this isn’t a home run but it is a bases-clearing triple (hell yea, cross sport reference). The Lions had a glaring deficiency at tight end last season and Jesse James was the best TE on the market this year. He can block well and is someone a defense has to pay attention to in the passing game. I’m assuming they over-payed for him because that is the way the free agency has been going thus far, hopefully they didn’t over-pay too badly for him though. This also should take Hockenson off the board for the 8th pick in the upcoming draft.

Grade: B, for now

UPDATE: Jesse James deal is being reported at 4 years/ $25 million. Above average pay for an above average player. Changing my grade to a B+.

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.

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

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.

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!!!!!