The Packers will come a-calling to Ford Field in Detroit this weekend for a game with the Lions. While others may say this or sugar coat that, make no mistake. This game is crucial for the Lions.
Currently at 4-5, and facing a brutal schedule the rest of the year, if the Cheeseheads knock them off in their own house to put them at 4-6 -- then stick a fork in them. They're done, as far as playoff aspirations go. Yes, I've seen the storylines about how recent Super Bowl champions were only 7-7 before they got on a roll, sneaked into the playoffs, and eventually won it all. But that scenario doesn't apply to the Lions. Championship pedigree teams have a way of rising to the occasion when the going gets tough. What happened in the regular season doesn't much matter. All they need is a chip and a chair at the final table, and they might just win the poker tournament.
Conversely, one can usually count on the Lions to fold on the rare occasions they get into a game with the big boys. Witness their playoff history, which features a grand total of ONE victory since a guy named Eisenhower was President -- long before the Super Bowl even existed. The Lions were riding high last year, going into the post-season with a 10-6 record. Right up until they visited New Orleans in the opening round of the playoffs, where they were promptly blown away like a wind chime in a hurricane. Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.
The Packers enter the game 6-3. They should be 7-2, save for them getting jobbed out in Seattle way back in Week 3 by an outrageous game-ending call that cost them a win. But hey, how can you root against a team that had to bite the bullet but ultimately served as the impetus to get rid of those bozo "replacement" refs? One of those striped clowns actually honed his dubious skills in the "lingerie league", and he was out there calling NFL games? Please.
The Packers got off to a slow start this year, but seem to have recovered quite nicely. Green Bay knows a little something about championship pedigree. They went into Houston and trounced the Texans, who some consider the best team in the NFL. Very impressive. Plus never underestimate Aaron Rodgers when the going gets tough -- except for his commercials on TV. They're worse than the replacment refs. Who came up with those ideas anyway? Matt Millen?
On the other hand, the Lions haven't defeated a single good team this year to date. In fact, they've lost to some their faithful thought they should defeat. The Minnesota Vikings serve as a prime example. In the first game at Ford Field, the Detroit homers whined about how the Vikings returned a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns. If not for that.... Hey, BS. If the shoe would have been on the other foot and Lions did the same to the Vikings, the koolaiders would have been trumpeting the special teams' play of the Honolulu blue and silver. Who's kidding who here?
In the rematch last week in Minnesota, much was made about how Lions' superstar receiver Calvin Johnson couldn't practice all week because of a bum knee. Few would doubt that CJ is the Lions best player. Then he went out and had a career day with receptions and yardage. The Lions still lost.
Little attention was paid by the Detroit media to the fact that the Vikings' equivalent of Calvin Johnson, and a much more versatile player to boot, one Percy Harvin, was injured and couldn't even play in that game. Lions' fans might want to consider where their team would be if the Megatron got hurt.
Regardless, the Packers are the superior team and are favored to win at Ford Field this Sunday.
So you know what's going to happen, right? The Lions will beat them to improve their record to a whopping 5-5, the koolaiders will go berserk again, and everybody will count down the following 4 days anticipating the Houstons Texans arriving for the Thanksgiving day game. We're on a roll now, they'll say. Bring em on.
Every time yours truly sees the Lions' hype machine get amped up, only to eventually blow a fuse, I'm reminded of something a wise old man told me many years ago.
"Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Bet he knew about the Lions' playoff history too.