With the Detroit Lions free agent class signed and training camps kicked off, now comes the time of year where the most optimistic Lions fans can be separated from the most pessimistic – by projecting the 2011 season. Number of wins, loss, and shoulder injuries – all are open for projection and discussion.
Peter King got an early start last week, mentioning “Lions” and “Superbowl” in the same sentence. While I love the Lions and am giddy with hope, I can only assume that he hadn’t had his coffee yet. Tom “Killer” Kowalski upped the ante yesterday afternoon on WDFN by actually picking a win/loss record, and guessed that the Lions will go 8-8 this season. Since Sidelionreport.com threw out the question to the fans, I figure I would make my prediction as well, with a game by game analysis of the upcoming season.
Sept. 11 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LOSS
Detroit goes on the road to Tampa in the opening week to play the Buccaneers. They won this game in overtime last year, but aren’t as lucky this year. Lions fan are jumping off the bandwagon already
Sept. 18 – vs. Kansas City Chiefs – WIN
Detroit comes out fired up for the home opener. With the starters still all healthy, Stafford leads them to victory.
Sept. 25 – at Minnesota Vikings – WIN
Donavan McNabb runs out of gas in the 4th quarter, and the Lions seal their first road victory of the season. Bandwagon fans are jumping back on.
Oct. 2 – at Dallas Cowboys – LOSS
The Dallas Cowboys added by subtracting Roy Williams. Tony Romo throws for four touchdowns; DeMarcus Ware literally turns Gosder Cherilus inside out with a spin move. Dallas wins.
Oct. 10 – vs. Chicago Bears – WIN
Matthew Stafford calls stacked double tight end formations on whatever side Julius Peppers is lined up. The strategy succeeds, Lions win.
Oct. 16 – vs. San Francisco 49ers – LOSS
Every year since I was just a little Lions blogger the Lions have lost a game they are supposed to win. This year it will be at home against Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. For an encore Harbaugh turns down another job offer from U of M.
Oct. 23 – vs. Atlanta Falcons – WIN
Detroit pulls off a victory against a team they weren’t favored against. With a 4-3 record, the Lions are starting to make a playoff push.
Oct. 30 – at Denver Broncos – WIN
The playoff push continues – Lions win. Tebow cries.
Nov. 6 – BYE
The Lions enjoy the bye week. Matthew Stafford doesn’t know what to do with himself because he actually has the use of both arms during the bye.
Nov. 13 – at Chicago Bears – LOSS
Jay Cutler throws a last second touchdown to Roy Williams in the front corner of the end zone to win the game. Roy Williams not only holds the ball all the way to the ground to complete the process, he gets up and hands the ball to a woman in the crowd, along with a used engagement ring.
Nov. 20 – vs. Carolina Panthers – WIN
Cam Newton tries to run. The Silver Crush says no.
Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving) – vs. Green Bay Packers – WIN
In the signature win of the season, Matthew Stafford finally shows the nation what he can do while healthy. John Madden unretires to give Stafford all six turkey legs.
Dec. 4 – at New Orleans Saints – LOSS
The Lions first game after a big Thanksgiving victory, played on the road? The Lions not only lose, but lose big.
Dec. 11 – vs. Minnesota Vikings – WIN
With the Vikings out of the playoff picture, the Christian Ponder Era starts in Minnesota, and ends with a loss. Lions are smelling playoffs.
Dec. 18 – at Oakland Raiders – WIN
The Detroit Lions finally are able to do what good teams do, and beat the teams they are supposed to beat.
Dec. 24 – vs. San Diego Chargers – LOSS
The Chargers are making their annual late playoff push. Lions lose, playoffs are in jeopardy.
Jan. 1 – at Green Bay Packers – LOSS
Green Bay in January, after the Packers lost ealier in the year to the Lions on national TV? Where a win would seal up a playoff spot? Lions fans won’t have it that easy. The Lions lose, but back into the playoffs with an Atlanta loss to Tampa Bay and the Lions holding the wild card edge with their victory over Atlanta.
All told, the Lions end of 9-7 and make their first playoff appearance since Bill Clinton was in his second term as US president and the US actually had a budget surplus.