Thursday, September 01, 2011

Lions In, or Lions Out?

I've been an optimistic Lions fan for the past 20-plus years. And I've been a pessimistic Lions fan for the past 20-plus years. Always both during the same season, and often during the same game.

Every year, the team on paper gives me hope, and then the regular season begins and soon thereafter all hope is lost, as they win only a handful of games, or fewer. Or...none.

This year, their defensive line should be the best in the league (if they can ever get their No. 1 draft pick Nick Fairley on the field), and their quarterback is showing some moxie, but it remains to be seen how his shoulder will hold up when he, um...well, when he falls down on the ground. It's been glass-like thus far in his young career.

They're coming off a four-game winning streak to finish last season, and tonight they completed an undefeated pre-season. Although, the last time they went 4-0 in the pre-season, they followed that by becoming the NFL's first winless regular-season team. Ahh, optimism. Ahh...pessimism.

This is the perfect year to pick them to make the jump to the playoffs, and many analysts are. Having suffered through so many seasons of big potential, I'm leery. I want to pick them, too, and I think they've got a great shot at a post-season berth. Which is why I'm leaving them out of my playoff picture. If they live up to the hype and play past Week 17, that will be reward enough. And if Stafford goes down in Week 3, and Suh gets suspended for a few games for...wait, what is it he's doing wrong?...oh yeah, for playing football!...then I can be glad I didn't waste a playoff spot on a team that never quite delivers.

Here's how my 2011-12 playoff picture shakes out:

AFC Division Winners
East — New England Patriots
North — Baltimore Ravens
South — Indianapolis Colts
West — San Diego Chargers

AFC Wild Cards
NY Jets; Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC Division Winners
East — Philadelphia Eagles
North — Green Bay Packers
South — New Orleans Saints
West — Arizona Cardinals

NFC Wild Cards
Atlanta Falcons; St. Louis Rams

AFC Championship Game
Baltimore over San Diego

NFC Championship Game
New Orleans over Philadelphia

Super Bowl XLVI
Baltimore over New Orleans

Let the criticizing commence!
And go Lions!

"But when you lose a Super Bowl, it's twice as bad.
It's like the further you go, the harder you fall."
—Bill Cowher

1 comment:

  1. Here are my predictions. AFC is going to be tough, I think 5 of the teams could win it.

    AFC Division Winners - NYJ, PIT, IND, SD
    Wild Card - NE, BAL
    Playoffs - NE over IND, BAL over SD
    Divisional - PIT over NE, NYJ over BAL
    Championship - NYJ over PIT

    NFC Division Winners - PHI, GB, ATL, ARZ
    Wild Card - NO, NYG
    Playoffs - NO over ARZ, ATL over NYG
    Divisional - GB over NO, ATL over PHI
    Championship - ATL over GB

    Super Bowl - ATL over NYJ

    Houston might win the AFC South depending how long Manning is out, but Collins could be good enough to have them play .500 until Peyton is back.

    I wanted to pick the Rams for the West, but Joel reminded me about their brutal schedule.

    I thought about the Lions too for a wild card, it will probably be like last year with a 2 or 3 way tie at 9-7 or 10-6 for the last spot.