Well OK. The regular season is now over for the lovable, or not, Detroit Lions. They just dropped their final game, at home, to the Green Bay Packers 31-24. Actually, the score was deceiving because it wasn't that close a game. After a tit for tat first half, the cheesers thoroughly dominated the puddy tats in the second. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a meaningless "hail mary" pass into the end zone for a touchdown as time was about to expire, long after GB had started celebrating the win.
So now it's off to the playoffs for both. As division champs, the Packers get to head back home to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field to host the NY Giants, a wild card team with actually a better record. Meanwhile, the Lions face the daunting task of traveling to the not-so-friendly confines of Seattle.
For the Lions, this is what happens having dropped the last three games of the regular season. The same Giants dumped them 17-6 a couple weeks ago, and the Dallas Cowboys totally trashed them 42-21 just last Monday night.
As has been mentioned in this space before, the Lions had a ridiculously soft schedule this year. At that, they needed several breaks, which they got, to barely limp into the playoffs.
Yet a closer look reveals a worrisome pattern has developed by the Lions. Consider who they've played.....
Besides the mandatory 2 games apiece within their division against GB, Minnesota, and Chicago, here's a list of the rest.....
N. Orl W
NY (Giants) L
The Lions finished the season a semi-respectable 9-7, but who they've defeated, and lost to, is very telling.
See the pattern? Out of the above teams, nary a one of Detroit's nine victories came against what would be a playoff squad. Every single time they played one, they got beat. To boot, besides the Tttans, even the lowly Chicago Bears knocked them off once. Basically, they feasted on below average competition.
But now, however far they go, and it will quite likely be another one and done in the playoffs, EVERY team is, obviously, of playoff caliber.
All year long they couldn't beat a playoff team and potentially three grueling matches with them, all on the road, stand between them and a first ever Super Bowl appearance?
Not a chance.
Despite the usual hype generated around Detroit when their team has even a modicum of success, in the end it appears to be boiling down to a quite familiar result.
It's just another year.
Given their long and sordid history, that's another pattern that's very difficult to argue.
They are, after all, still the (same old?) Lions -- right?
Idle thought: If we call the Green Bay Packers the Pack, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Bucs, and the Jacksonville Jaguars the Jags -- um -- what should we call the Tennessee Titans? Careful.