Playing The Detroit Lions Schedule Game, From the Other Side
By Zac Snyder
Dec 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; A general view of Ford Field before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Admit it, Detroit Lions fans. When the team’s 2013 schedule was released in April you immediately took a look and “played the schedule game” by marking games as wins and losses.
But what if we could “play the game” by asking those who follow the competition closely how they expect the games to play out? Good news, we can, and I did through the opponent preview series that ran on this site over the past two weeks. If you followed the series as it ran each day, perhaps you caught on. If you didn’t, here is how it worked. I conducted a brief Q&A with a writer from the FanSided site dedicated to each team on the Lions’ 2013 schedule. The last question of the Q&A asked for an early call on the game – win, loss or toss up.
Sure, each result may have been foreseen through biased glasses but let’s not pretend that isn’t the case when Lions fans play the schedule game for themselves.
So here you go, the Detroit Lions schedule game played by the competition. If you want to read any of the full opponent previews, just click the link.
Week 1 vs. Vikings (Loss)
"It’s the Lions so a Vikings sweep is always a possibility. We just own the Lions as everyone knows. But there’s one little factor this year that has me a little worried. Reggie Bush. The Vikes have had a ton of trouble with this guy in the past. If the Lions can get the ball in his hands, he can be a major weapon for them. Having him out there with Megatron makes the Lions’ offense potentially scary. Then again, you look at Matthew Stafford and realize he’s probably not that good despite the gaudy stats. The Vikes don’t seem to have any trouble containing him. So I guess I’ll go out on a limb and predict two Vikings victories."
Week 2 at Cardinals (Loss)
"I say win. The Cards easily handled the Lions in Arizona at the end of last season. This season it is a week two visit to the desert. I won’t go out on a limb and say it will be a cakewalk because personally I think the Lions were the NFL’s biggest disappointment and underachiever in 2012. I see them improving significantly. I will take the Cards though since it will be the home opener."
Week 3 at Redskins (Toss Up)
"The game against the lions is a toss-up, not because no game is a given, but because there’s a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Can the Redskins contain Megatron? Can the offensive line block well against Suh who dominated them the last time they played? Home games usually give the advantage, but as the NFL has seen, home games for the Redskins aren’t always a problem for visitors."
Week 4 vs. Bears (Win)
"I am saying it will be an even split, where each team wins one at home. I really see the Lions as a threat as long as they stay disciplined. They have a lot of offensive weapons and they have a defensive line that can be downright nasty."
Week 5 at Packers (Loss)
"I feel the Packers, with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, are still a leg up on the Lions. If the Packers’ defense shows the improvement that’s anticipated, they will once again sweep the Lions. Rodgers is the difference-maker."
Week 6 at Browns (Toss Up)
"It is a toss up. These two teams have such a bizarre track record when they get together that anything is possible. They play in the preseason for the ship before meeting in the regular season. It could easily be a game that is a battle of field goals or a shootout like with Matthew Stafford and Brady Quinn. The Browns and Lions tend to be a great game between mediocre teams but both might be heading in a better direction."
Week 7 vs. Bengals (Win)
"Loss. It’s a road game against a team that has a lot of favorable matchups against the Bengals. While I Believe Cincinnati is a better team and has more balance on offense and defense, the Lions at home with Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush and Brandon Pettigrew will force Cincinnati into a shootout, and they haven’t shown me they have the horses on offense to keep up with a game that goes into the high 20s-30s."
Week 8 vs. Cowboys (Loss)
"The Detroit Lions took a major step back last season going 4-12, losing their last eight games straight. A year removed from a 10-6 record, I really don’t believe the Lions are as bad as their 2012 record indicates. But Detroit has seemingly done little in the off-season to improve their team outside of signing running back Reggie Bush and drafting defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. I expect the Lions to be slightly better than last year, but nothing the Cowboys can’t handle. Dallas goes into Detroit and win big."
Week 9 – BYE
Week 10 at Bears (Loss)
Week 11 at Steelers (Toss Up)
"I am marking the game against the Lions as a toss-up mainly because I feel like the Steelers and Lions are a good match for each other and both teams could beat each other on any given day. The Steelers have a passing defense that is one of the best in the league, so while it is extremely difficult to stop Calvin Johnson, it is more realistic to try and contain him. I feel like if the Steelers secondary is on their game, they can do this. Reggie Bush may be an “X” factor because the Steelers defense is designed to stop the big play so their will be opportunities for Reggie Bush to beat them underneath. As far as the Detroit defense is concerned, the defensive line definitely scares me. I feel like the Steelers new and much improved offensive line can keep them somewhat in check, but Ansah, Fairley, and Suh all are very good players. At least to me, their is no clear winner, so I look forward to November 17th when the Steelers take on the Lions."
Week 12 vs. Buccaneers (Loss)
"It has to be a win. The Bucs don’t have that many sure-fire winnable games, so they’re going to have to focus on the Lions and ensure they get a win out of this matchup. I think that a healthy Darrelle Revis proves to be kryptonite for Megatron, and there’s no way the Lions can get a running game going against the Bucs’ D."
Week 13 vs. Packers (Loss)
Week 14 at Eagles (Win)
"If this game were to be played at this very instant, it would be marked down as a loss for the Eagles. The Lions have an extraordinary amount of talent on the team that has had plenty of time to jell. The Eagles are still trying to figure things out in their new system. However, these teams do not play until Week 14 — there could be some decision-altering changes for both of these teams in place by that time."
Week 15 vs. Ravens (Toss Up)
"That’s a tough call, the Lions are better than they showed last season and the Ravens have a habit of struggling against big WRs (the Lions apparently have some guy named Megatron that is supposedly pretty good), that said I think the Ravens will have their way with the Lions defense thanks to their guard play and the offense will put up enough points to win what could be a shoot out. All that said I’ll call it a toss up because the Ravens have been absurdly hot and cold on the road the past two years."
Week 16 vs. Giants (Loss)
Week 17 at Vikings (Loss)
Add it all up and our blogging friends give the Lions credit for three wins with another four games called toss ups. If all those games go the Lions’ way, they top out at seven wins. I don’t need to conduct a scientific poll to know that Lions fans are expecting more than three to seven wins out of this team. If they fall short of eight it is possible that the house is cleaned and another new regime will take over.
How the path to eight or more wins differs from what was presented above is pretty clear. A sweep at the hands of the Vikings can’t happen and the Lions need to avenge last season’s debacle in the desert with a win over the Cardinals. From there we can talk about beating the Bucs at home and possibly swiping a game from the Packers and the talk of playoffs will be on once again.