Friday, October 2, 2009
Lions vs Bears Sunday
This game is huge for the Lions. How will they respond after winning last week against the Redskins at home with only about 40,000 fans in attendance? Will they show how far behind other NFL teams in terms of talent, or will they surprise us all and pull a 2007 Ravens, Dolphins or Falcons?
I am not hopeful that the Lions are a playoff team. I mean, you can never really know in the NFL but I'm sure we have more rebuilding to do. And that is fine for now. We have seemed to assembled a nice collection of rookies to build on in the future (WMU grad Louis Delmas won defensive rookie of the month for September). Matthew Stafford has improved every week he has played in the NFL, against progressively tougher opponents. That trend can continue this week against a Chicago team without its defensive leader. It will be the first outdoor game for Stafford since the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. Kevin Smith may not play and will be limited in practice if he is healthy at all. Bryant Johnson has been a pleasant surprise this season but we need to get the ball more to Calvin Johnson. He is the best player on the team and can take over a game. I am glad to see him getting involved in reverses but he needs more deep passes to take advantage of his height and jumping. Stafford will need to put more touch on his passes and display more accuracy (his biggest knock in college) and keep being aggressive. I am totally supportive of what him and Jim Schwartz are trying to do in Detroit. I already believe in him more than I ever did Marinelli, or Morningweg and I'm sure Schwartz's shovel is much sharper than Rod's ever was.
If the Lions come out and play well (and hopefully win) it would re-energize the fan base and maybe sell out a few more games. It will help the players buy into the new system and get confidence moving on in the season. The second half of the Lions season is much easier than the first half, and it could give hope of hunting for a playoff spot in December. To finish a season on a roll with help the Lions bring in free agents next year and get out of the top 5 in the draft and not spending a ton of money on more rookies. If the Lions lose, they are going to be labeled as a rebuilding team (which they are) and still playing for next season (which they are). It isn't wrong to hold out hope, and I do not believe we will win this weekend, but this is the most important game for us in a while. Can we continue to build on getting the 0-19 monkey off our back or will we show our true colors? It is tough to win win division games on the road in the NFL and this weekend could show how far the Lions have come.