The Detroit Lions fell once again in epic fashion, but this time for all the country to see on Monday Night Football. They managed to hold the Ravens to zero touchdowns and still, somehow, lost the game, 18-16.
The Ravens were not led by Ray Lewis. No, he was with ESPN after the game. The Ravens were not led by Ed Reed either, as he is currently riding the pine for the New York Jets. No, the real captain for Baltimore was kicker Justin Tucker who led the birds to victory. Going 6-for-6, including converting on a 61-yard game-winner made this man an obvious choice for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week but for Lions fans is just one thorn among many piercing through their sides.
Remember what Ravens safety Matt Elam said last week? The rookie took a little shot at Megatron calling him “pretty old.” Seems like too minor of a jab to do so much harm, but Calvin Johnson had one of his worst games of the year. The superstar dropped a couple key passes when he was wide open, and one can’t help but wonder if his nerves got the best of him.
And as for Elam? Well, he led the Ravens in tackles and came away with the game-clinching interception on the Lions’ last drive. The 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft was having a disappointing year leading up to Monday’s game, but Elam really shined in the limelight.
Matthew Stafford, on the other hand, did not. The turnovers just keep coming, and it is killing the Lions’ chances in these close games. Head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have yet to change their head-scratching play-calling, and with playoff hopes dwindling so should their chances of staying in Detroit.
Now the Lions need to win out the next two weeks just to keep themselves above water. At first glance, this looks like an easy task. The Giants are coming off a 23-0 loss to the Seahawks and are 5-9 on the season, but they do have an impressive road win over the Eagles on their resume. Coming to Detroit, the Giants could play spoiler once again.
The final week of the season the Lions take on the Vikings in Minnesota. Another team with a disappointing record, at 4-10 the Vikings seem hardly a threat; however, last week they won 48-30 over the Eagles. Maybe the Eagles just play poorly against sub-par teams, but the Lions have to take treat these last two matchups like playoff games. Both are do or die, but I like their chances.
But even if the Lions win these two, they will still need help from their division foes. The Bears go to Philly this week, while the Packers play host to the Steelers. Each game is a tossup, but I like the road teams to win.
The Bears and Eagles share an 8-6 record, but while the Bears are coming off an impressive road victory, the Eagles are reeling after giving up 48 to the Vikings. This should be a shootout on Sunday Night that favors the Bears’ slightly better defense.
The Steelers may only have a 6-8 record, but they are coming off a huge 30-20 victory over the AFC North-leading Bengals. The Packers miraculously got past the Cowboys, but I really don’t know how. Oh wait, it was Tony Romo! Without Aaron Rodgers the Packers have only won two games by a total of two points, and are a below-average football team.
In week 17 the Packers go to Soldier Field. Again, I like the Bears in what would be a division-clinching game, leaving the Lions out in the cold.
The most intriguing game of all these is this Sunday Night when the Bears play the Eagles. If the Eagles win, I think the Lions still make the playoffs, but if they don’t, it will likely be too little, too late for the Leos. But hey don’t feel blue, there is always the draft!