The Detroit Lions may have an easy schedule for the remainder of the season, but in the NFL, or Not-For-Long league, that has to be one of the most misleading topics I’ve heard this season. Last week we thought that Tampa Bay and Philadelphia stunk and then Tampa Bay took the Seahawks to overtime IN SEATTLE and Nick Foles went on to throw seven, that’s right SEVEN, touchdown passes against the Raiders. That might not sound that scary, but the Buccaneers are not as bad as their record and speed, which the Eagles have an abundance of, has always tormented the Lions’ defense.
Needless to say, the remaining eight games are worth taking a look in depth because it could be a dog fight for the Lions moving forward. That starts with a critical game in Chicago this Sunday that just got a lot tougher with Jay Cutler expected to start for the Bears.
Bears injured QB Jay Cutler plans to return this week and, barring no setback, start vs Lions on Sunday, per team source.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 5, 2013
Chicago Bears- Don’t look now, but reports indicate that Jay Cutler is expected to start this Sunday at Soldier Field against the Lions. In the Matthew Stafford era, the Lions have had some horrible luck at Solider Field, which includes two significant Stafford injuries, the epic “no catch” by Calvin Johnson, which would have led the Lions to a win. Add on four interceptions by Matthew Stafford in the 2011 season and Nate Burleson’s broken leg in 2012 and Soldier Field presents as many demons as Lambeau Field does for the Lions. The Lions have two goals on Sunday: Win and stay healthy. Neither has happened since 2009.
Pittsburgh Steelers- Historically this series is a lot closer then you would think given the two franchise’s histories at 15-14-1. Luckily, the Lions will have a good chance to even the series against the Steelers who are a shell of their former selves on defense. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh’s offense looks a lot better than it did two weeks ago, attribute that to Le’Veon Bell.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Forget the fact that they are 0-8, they are a few plays away from being .500. The Lions should win this game, but Tampa Bay is playing better every week and should not be overlooked.
Green Bay Packers- The last time the Lions beat the Packers was in 2010 and Aaron Rodgers missed most of that game with a concussion.That really sums up this match up. Ironically, Aaron Rodgers may be out when the Lions play the Packers on Thanksgiving.
Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles are riding a roller coaster this season. Looks like Nick Foles has finally emerged as the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the year which is bad for the Lions. The Eagles’ offense might be the fastest positionally in the NFL with DeSean Jackson on the outside and LeSean McCoy at running back. In case you haven’t notice the Lions’ secondary doesn’t really cover anyone well, but they particularly struggle containing speed. On the road, against an improved Eagles’ team that is the model of inconsistency, the Lions could find themselves in a shoot out.
Baltimore Ravens- Two things, Monday Night Football. Ford Field. Of the games remaining on the Lions schedule this one worries me the least. Ford Field should be fired up and the Lions should ride this one in a decisive win.
New York Giants- Giants are currently riding a two game winning streak which brings their record up to a grand total of 2-6. Even if the Giants string together wins in the second half of the season I think the Lions win. The Giants can’t block anyone along the offensive line and Detroit’s defense feeds of quarterbacks who turn the ball over, Insert Eli Manning here.
Minnesota Vikings- The Metrodome is another place the Lions have had a hard time winning historically, anyone starting to notice a trend with the Lions on the road vs. the NFC North? But the Lions have won two of the last three in Minnesota and much like the Giants, the Vikings won’t be able to match up with the Lions’ passing game.
Right now the fate of the NFC North hangs on Aaron Rodgers and his injured shoulder. Even missing one game is enough to fall behind in a division that has three teams within a half game of each other. If Rodgers is out for awhile, a 10-6 record and more importantly a win on Thanksgiving should win the division with ease. I think the Lions find a way to win six more games down the stretch bringing their win total to 11 for the year.