Believe it or not, the Detroit Lions look a lot like the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, this is due in large part to the Cowboys lowering themselves to the Lions’ level rather than the Lions making huge strides towards becoming a playoff contender. Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying it.
If Lions fans are disappointed with their team’s 1-5 start then imagine how fans in Dallas must feel now that the Cowboys have opened the season with a 1-5 mark. A team that was supposed to be contenders in the NFC has instead put up results that match the NFL’s poster child for futility. It might be shocking enough to put the Lions on par with the Cowboys but I’ll go a step further; the team from “The D” is in a better place than the team from “Big D”.
Fans of both teams can make strong cases that their teams have shot themselves in the foot. The argument certainly holds water when you look at the list of the most penalized teams. The Lions lead the league with 9.83 penalties per game while the Cowboys are a close second with 9.0 penalties per game. The Cowboys lead the league in penalty yardage against per game with the Lions follow with the second most. It is hard to win games when you have to overcome the opponent and yourself.
The start of week seven of the NFL schedule signals the return of Matthew Stafford to the Lions offense. For the Cowboys it will be the first of at least six weeks without their franchise quarterback, Tony Romo, who broke his collar bone Monday night against the Giants. The ‘Boys will have to turn to Jon Kitna, one of the guys the Lions ran out of town in favor of Stafford. The Lions are 1-5 and looking up and the Cowboys are 1-5 and looking down.
Sure, a bad season will happen every now and then, especially when a team has to go an extended time without their franchise quarterback. If this was the first bump in the road then Cowboys fans wouldn’t have a reason to worry. The truth is that the Wade Phillips era has failed to meet expectations on a yearly basis. Every failure has had the media running to Jerry Jones wondering if he’d finally had enough. He hasn’t so far but how much longer can the status quo continue? I sense that big changes are on the horizon.
The Lions situation is the polar opposite. For the first time in a long time (perhaps ever) it feels like the organization is finally a cohesive unit with a plan and the ability to see it through to completion. The Cowboys are 1-5 because they are three-ring circus on the verge of collapse. The Lions are 1-5 because the team was once left so devoid of talent that the entire roster had to be rebuilt. The record may look similar to what Lions fans have seen before but those that watch the games can clearly see a difference. If given the choice, would I be crazy to choose the Lions’ situation over the Cowboys’?