Category Archives: NFL Football

Lions vs Packers – Time To Step Up Is Right Now!

Lions Beat The Packers to Make 2014 The Best Christmas Ever!
Lions Beat The Packers to Make 2014 The Best Christmas Ever!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

There isn’t a Lions fan out there right now that isn’t sending as much positive energy as they can to the Detroit Lions right now.

We head into Lambeau Field, a place that has been a nightmare for us for the past 23 years.  What better time to exercise a demon than this Sunday?

I was a little miffed that NBC decided to change the Sunday Night game from Lions/Packers to Bengals/Steelers.  After all, I am way the heck out here in the Great Northwest and Lions games are kinda hard to come by.

But I have the NFL Red Zone (A moment of pause here.  I would like to nominate the person that came up with this fantastic idea for the Nobel Peace Prize) so I will be able to see much of the game.  Granted, its not quite the same but we must make do with what we can, right?

I really hope that the Lions spent extra time watching tapes of the Packers and Buffalo Bills from two weeks ago. The Bills exposed some weaknesses that the Lions front four can use as well as the areas of the secondary that Matthew Stafford can attack with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.  Our two receivers are way better than the combination of Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.

While the Buffalo Bills didn’t score any touchdowns thru the air and Kyle Chandler only threw for 158 yards, they were very effective yards.  It put the middle linebackers on their heels which allowed Fred Jackson and Company to run for 117 yards.

But it was the defense that saved the day for the Bills.  Bacarri Rambo intercepted Rodgers twice and the Bills defense sacked him once but harassed and knocked him down several times during the game.

Lions will need to go after Rodgers all day long and never let up.  Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin needs to dial it up with some blitz packages to put Rodgers on the ground.

It will be the offense that needs to really step up.  Stafford needs to have long drives to keep Rodgers on the sidelines and to tire out the Packers defense.  And those long drives need to end in touchdowns to keep as much pressure as possible on the Packers offense, to make them one dimensional and constantly play catch-up.

As you may have noticed, I am not putting a predicted score…but I do get a sense that it is the Detroit Lions time right now.  And as long as they have just one more point on the scoreboard than the Packers, we are the division champs and get a week off…and host a playoff game.

That would indeed make this a great football holiday season.

Go Lions!

Lions Win Over The Bears – There Are Some Concerns

Lions Win!! Playoff Bound Baby!
Lions Win!! Playoff Bound Baby!

The Lions won yesterday beating the Chicago Bears 20-14.

We should be happy in the result (OK, I admit the 45-7 prediction was a little out of whack) since a win is a win is a win, right?

But there are too many causes for concern:

  1. Leaving at least 17 points on the field.  Matthew Stafford didn’t have his best game but played well enough to win.  But 2 crucial interceptions in the red zone (one that should have been a touchdown) and a makeable 34 yard field goal that was blocked made the game a lot closer than it should have been.
  2. Giving up points of turnovers.  The Lions defense played well enough to have shut-out the Bears.  But a special teams gaffe gave Chicago a short field.  Jeremy Ross was indecisive on a punt, not sure to catch it and attempt a return or just fair catch it.  He did neither as he tried to allow the ball to go into the end-zone.  However, the funny shaped ball has a tendency to take weird hops.  It touched him and the Bears recovered on the Detroit 11-yard line.
  3. Just plain dumbness.  What the heck was Dominic Raiola thinking when he stomped on the leg of Ego Ferguson?  The last thing you want to do is fire up a team when they have nothing to play for but pride.  Regardless if it was intentional or not, it was used by the Bears as fuel.

The Lions can ill-afford to play a game such as this against Green Bay next week.  If I were Jim Caldwell, I would give the team about 2 minutes to celebrate and then lay into them because of the dumbness of how they played.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  And the Lions got lucky yesterday.

They had better start focusing on being good if they want to have any chance against the Packers next week.

 

 

Seahawks at Cardinals: Hawks Win 10-7

Steven Hauschka will be everyone's favorite Seahawk after Sunday's Win!
Steven Hauschka will be everyone’s favorite Seahawk after Sunday’s Win!

The man in the picture above doesn’t seem like hero material, does he.  I mean, he’s not what the typical hero should look like.  Someone who is at least 6’5″ and 240 pounds with a stare that could cut granite.

Believe it or not, Steven Hauschka is 6’4″ but comes in at 220 lbs. with a stare that could make people laugh.  But don’t let that demeanor fool you.  He has ice in his veins and has come through in many, many clutch situations.

While he may be a well-traveled kicker (the Hawks are his sixth NFL team, plus he had a season kicking for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives), since 2011, Hauschka has found a home with Seattle.

As for the game this Sunday, I have a gut feeling that this is going to be a classic throwback defensive struggle.  Points are going to be at a premium with both teams scoring only one touchdown.

And it’s all going to come down to Hauschka’s right foot with less than 30 seconds to play…and he will come through with a 48 yard field goal to win it.

He may be the hero of the moment but the hero of the game is going to be that Seattle defense.  They will harass and  annoy the Cardinal’s third string QB Ryan Lindley, causing him to rush his throws and keep him off his game.

The secondary will clamp down on the Cardinal receivers.  Not sure if they will get any picks but for the most part, a lot of broken up passes and sure handed tackling as to mitigate any big plays.

I guess that would be one of the keys to the game.  If the defense can force the Cardinals into 3rd and long situations and get Lindley to throw downfield, opportunities for turnovers will increase.  I am fairly confident that Cardinals coaching staff will have Lindley on a short leash throwing a lot of screen passes and short passes over the middle to tight-ends and running backs.

And that just plays into perhaps the strongest part of the Seattle defense, the linebacker corps.  Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith need to key in on those screens and passes over the middle.  If there are going to be any picks in this game, I predict they will come from the linebackers.

But the game will come down to Hauschka’s foot…and it will be one of the sweetest wins for the Seahawks this season!

Go Hawks!

Lions, Bucs Prediction – Lions Keep Rolling, 28-10 Over Bucs

Lions Bucs Score

Here come the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Lions should take care of these guys, right?  No problem, put the Lions at 9-4 and look forward to taking care of the Minnesota Vikings and we’ll be 10-4 before going to take on a dysfunctional Chicago Bears team, sweeping them and having an 11-4 record before heading into Lambeau Field.

This scenario I just laid out is what Lions fans in the past have laid out whenever the Lions seem to be finally righting the ship.  And time and again, we have our hearts crushed as the Lions spiral to yet another dismal season without getting into the playoffs.

Fortunately, we have Jim Caldwell who is having none of that.  He has the Lions putting their focus on where it should be, beating the resurgent Tampa Bay Bucs team who could surprise the Lions.

As of right now, the 8-4 Lions are in the hunt to make the playoffs due to the Cowboys beating the Bears Thursday night.

But here’s the thing:  The Lions do control their own destiny.  All they need to do is take care of what they can and that’s beating the team they are playing each week.  Detroit cannot worry what the Packers, Seahawks, Cowboys or Saints are going to do.  Keep wining to put the pressure on those teams and take the pressure off themselves to not lose.

There have been times the Lions, the rare times they have been in this spot, where they have done just that.  Instead of focusing on playing to win, they play not to lose which is a different way to play.  They should not deviate from what got them this far.  Don’t play scared, play fierce.  Don’t play to keep from getting hurt, lay everything on the line as though it was the last game because it very well could be.

Yes, this could be a trap game for the Lions.  But the team is getting healthier each week.  This week, Stafford will have another weapon to use with the return of Reggie Bush.

For one more week the Lions take care of business, 28-10.

Seahawks – 24, 49rs – 13: Must Win Game for Seahawks

It’s time to see if the team meeting the Seahawks had prior to the Arizona Cardinal game will travel well.

These Seahawks had a team meeting which I am sure a lot of things were said that needed to be said.  I’ve been in some of those and while some feelings may have gotten hurt, the majority of time, it worked.  A meeting like that is tough for everyone but in the end, it builds trust and gets the focus back on doing your job rather than placing blame on each other.

It was a good thing to do prior to a home game…and while it was an important home game, that trust and confidence in each other is going to be put to a very difficult test down in San Francisco.  And I have a strong feeling that the Seahawks are going to pass it.

This team is built around the run.  The Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch who doesn’t seem to have a stop button on the field.  Get him the ball and have the road graders up front clear a path…and if it’s not cleared completely…that’s OK, Beast Mode will clear it on his own.

Outside of Lynch, the Seahawks really don’t have a star player that can take over a game when needed.  Sure, Russell Wilson has proven many a time that he can get the Hawks down the field but where is that receiver that he can count on?  Don’t get me wrong, I think Baldwin and Kearse are good receivers….but neither of those guys really scare anyone.

But there is a great chemistry on this team…they play for each other which is going to carry them far.

The defense, which defines the Seahawks, need to step up big.  And they should be able to with them being as healthy as they have ever been.

I think that early on, we need to have Kam Chancellor make a big hit on someone to set the tone.  To send a message that this is going to be a war and there will be no easy gains.

So I see this game being close most of the game but Lynch will bust off a couple of great runs in the fourth quarter to seal it.  Lynch will rush for at least 125 and have 2-3 touchdowns on the day.

I wouldn’t want to be the team that is facing the Seahawks when they have their backs against the wall…but if there was ever a team that could match them, it’s these 49rs.

Gonna be a bash fest…but Hawks win, 24, 13.

Detroit Lions – 45, Chicago Bears – 13: Lions Need Big Win

Lions Bears Score

Yes, I am going out on a limb.  But the Lions need a win and they need a win that will give them confidence.

What the Lions need, and this goes for us fans as well, is to forget any history…forget the 3 come from behind wins, forget the dismal outing against the Cardinals and Patriots and just go out and kick some Chicago ass.

A big win in this fashion does a lot of things to a team.  It tells them they can play with the big boys.  It shows they have amnesia when it comes to previous games…and most important of all, they can believe in themselves and start trusting each other and just play football.

My philosophy, if I were the head coach (and its probably a good reason I’m not) is I would preach to these guys that this game is the most important game they are going to play…and when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Ford Field on December 7th, that will be the most important game…and so on.  They need to learn to take on what’s in front of them, forget what happen and take care of business.

So what if Matt Stafford had one of his worst passing days last week…throw the freaking ball to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate and send a message to the Bears secondary that we have the best receivers and we don’t care who you got covering them…we’re throwing to them.

Don’t give a rip  that Bush has been injured the last 2 games…set up a fake end around and hit him with a screen pass and let him go nuts.  Give Joique Bell the ball and let him pound away at the Bears defense.

As for our defense, forget about last week and get after the QB.  Sack 4 or 5 times and hit him often enough that he gets happy feet.

Get a spy on Matt Forte and hang on until the rest of the D gets there to pile on…wear him down so he becomes less effective later on in the game.

Brandon Marshall?  Make no changes in the secondary…keep those focused on taking away the inside slants and force Cutler to go to his 3rd and 4th options…because if he does that, he’ll being saying “hello” a lot to Nadmukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah and Andre Fluellen a lot.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Lions Fans, wherever you are…you too Bears fans but I’m still hoping for a big Lions win.

Seattle Seahwaks and Detroit Lions: Interesting Day of Football

If you would have told me at the start of the season that this weekend was a pivotal one for both of these teams, I probably would not have believed you.

Let’s start with the Seattle Seahawks…only because if they win against the Kansas City Chiefs, they will become the biggest fans of the Detroit Lions as they take on the 8-1 Arizona Cardinals.

The Seahawks seemed to have righted themselves after a rocky start.  I think it was a wake-up call when they traded Percy Harvin to the Jets.  It allowed the team to get back to what they are:  a team that needs to establish run and play solid defense.  Hang around until the 4th quarter and then take over the game.

I have found it very interesting over these past few weeks listening to sports talk shows, mainly the Danny, Dave and More show on 710 ESPN radio here in Seattle.

There is an understated sense of panic about these Seahawks.  At the start of the year, the Hawks changed the focus of their team and got away from what had made them so successful last year when they build the offense around Percy Harvin.  There is no denying that Harvin is a special talent.  But to paraphrase a famous line from Bull Durham, “million dollar talent but a .10 cent head” sums him up perfectly.

I applauded the quick reaction taken by the Seahawks when it just wasn’t working with Harvin…they cut their losses and got back to being the team they were last year, giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch as well as letting Russell Wilson take command of the team late in games.  It’s no surprise the Hawks are 3-1 since the departure of Harvin.

We must also take into consideration the considerable amount of talent that left the building after the Super Bowl.  Many of the second team players on the squad last year could have started on a lot of teams.  And every player in the NFL wants to be a starter.

Also, did everyone expect all other teams not to improve?  Arizona already had one heckuva defense as well as the Rams.  The Cardinals are winning because Bruce Arians is one helluva coach and they made some very smart moves to improve the offense.

The Seahawks have a very tough game ahead of them in Kansas City, one I would consider a must win.  Both teams are set up similarly, with great running backs (Hawks with Lynch and Chiefs with Jamal Charles).  Both teams have quarterbacks that make few mistakes with the ball, Russell Wilson of the Hawks and Alex Smith with Kansas City.

So what is it going to take for the Hawks to win?  First and foremost, they have to take the crowd out of the game.  Opening drive needs to be a long, sustained drive with seven points on the board.  The defense needs to keep the Chief offense off the field.  Smith loves to throw to his running backs and tight-ends so it would be wise to cover them.  They are a “move the chains” team and while they do take their shots down the field, that would play into Seattle’s strength, allowing the secondary to make some big plays.

As for the Lions against the Cardinals, all I can say is this is going to be one heck of a game.  The Lions appear to have shed the image of not being a good road team.  They did play flat against the Falcons in London for 3-1/2 quarters but came alive to win that game.

We may have caught a break with the injury to Carson Palmer…but ex-Lion Drew Stanton has the backing of Bruce Arians has he convinced the team to go after him in free agency.  Arians has so much confidence in Stanton, he feels that he should be a starter in the NFL.

No player wants to see a teammate get hurt but many times, it’s the only way to get your shot.

Lions will need to put the game in Stanton’s hands by stopping the run game and putting the Cardinals in 3rd and long situations.  Stanton is only completing 49% of his passes so the more pressure put on him, the better off the Lions will be.  But they will need to contain him since he can run.

I imagine that after tomorrow, I am going to be pretty hoarse…I’ll be nervous and jittery as I cheer on my two hometown teams.  But my heart will be mostly with the Lions.

Enjoy tomorrow everyone…this is what NFL football is about!

Detroit Lions – This Could Be The Year

Stafford:  Calm and Cool.  But more heat is on the way.
Stafford: Calm and Cool. But more heat is on the way.

Ok, maybe the Kool-Aid is tasting a little better these days…but the way the Detroit Lions are winning has got to make folks stand-up and take notice.

This streak they have been on started back on October 12th against the Vikings with a 17-3 victory.  Granted, the score should have been more lopsided but a win is a win and even better against a division opponent.  Plus they won without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. They played in Minnesota, a place where they have won only for the second time in 17 tries.  And any win on the road is a good one.

But perhaps the most amazing game of this 4 game win streak was the amazing 24-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints.  I don’t think it matters what record the Saints have, they are a very good defensive team and even without Jimmy Graham at full strength, they have a damn good passing attack with Drew Brees throwing to Marques Colston and Kenny Stiles.

The Saints had the Lions by the throat but Matthew Stafford and company had some different ideas on how the game was going to end.  Stafford tossed two TD passes in a space of 3:38 with the game winner going to  Corey Fuller.

Everyone thought that was a great game…until the Lions took on the Atlanta Falcons in London.  The Falcons jumped all over the Lions putting up 21 first half points.  The Lions looked lost and I am pretty sure that all Lions fans were all thinking the same thing:  “Same old Lions.  Have a great comeback win against a good team and then lose to pretty bad team the next week.”  We’ve all seen it before, can’t sustain a win streak.

But then something amazing happened.  The Lions took the 2nd half kick-off 76 yards in a 7 minute drive that ended with a Matt Prater field goal. The Lions vaunted #1 defense in the NFL woke up and started to play like it.

After the ensuing kick-off, the Lions forced a three and out, making the Falcons punt. Falcons played some good defense in this series but then on 3rd down and 10, Stafford floats a pass to Golden Tate for 15 yards and a first down.  Tate had some other ideas and with a great run, went 59 yards for the touch down.  At this point, it’s Falcons 21, Lions 10.

On the Falcons next possession, after Falcons made some headway into Lions territory, cornerback Cassisus Vaughn picks off Ryan and returns it 45 yards to the Atlanta 7 yard line. Falcons defense stiffens and the Lions fail to punch it in, settling for a Prater 20 yard field goal.  Falcons 21, Lions 13.

Lions defense forces the Falcons to punt and the Lions put together another 7 minute plus scoring drive with Stafford hitting Theo Riddick for a 5 yard TD.  Lions go for 2-point conversion and fail but close the gap to Falcons 21, Lions 19.

Forward to 1:38 left in the game, Lions start their final drive on their own 12 yard line.  Stafford works the Lions down to the Falcons 25 yard line to have Prater come in to kick a 43 yard field goal only to see him miss it…but wait, a flag is thrown, penalty on the Lions for delay of game…dead ball foul and 4 seconds are put back on the clock. Prater lines up for a 48 yard field goal and kicks it through, sealing the win.

And then yesterday’s game against the streaking Miami Dolphins who came into Detroit on a 3 game win streak of their own. It did look from the onset the Lions were going to run away with the game with the defense setting the tone.

But the Dolphins are a surprising team and actually took the lead after blocking a Matt Prater kick with 4:19 left in the game and kicking a field goal to go up 13-10 with 1:22 left in the game.

But Stafford and Golden Tate, and Calvin Johnson  having a field day, Stafford located Theo Riddick with 43 seconds left on the clock for a 5 yard TD.

Each of these last three games would have been ones the Lions would have lost last year…somehow finding a way to implode.  But not this team.

Gone are the stupid penalties that kept shooting themselves in the foot.

Gone is the panic when playing from behind.

What I see on this team is a lot of unity and team first mentality…and that could take these guys all the way too the Super Bowl.

The Lions aren’t looking ahead but we can…and they aren’t going to have an easy time of it. At best, the Lions could go 5-2 over the next seven games.  I say that since Carson Palmer is injured and out for the year for Arizona and the two losses would be against the Patriots and Packers.

They should beat the Bears twice as well as the Vikings, giving them a 5-1 division record and a 12-4 record. At worst, they go 3-4, giving them a 10-6 record and with a split with the Bears and a win over the Vikings, still gives them a nice 4-3 division and a possible wild-card, depending on what Green Bay does.

But like the Lions, we have to take these games one at a time…and this weeks focus will be on giving as much positive energy to our boys in blue to defeat the Arizona Cardinals.

Go Lions!

Lions, Browns – Wouldn’t That Be a Cool Super Bowl?

So after witnessing the Cleveland Browns over the Cincinnati Bengals and seeing the Detroit Lions playing meaningful games in November, I have to start wondering if this is the year that all current NFL teams will have made a Super Bowl.

Both teams have a lot of history being the two dominate teams in the 1950’s.  From 1952 to 1957, the Lions and Browns faced each other 4 times for the NFL Championship with the Lions winning 3 out 4.

Since then, the Lions have been snake-bit.  They haven’t been to a championship game in 56 years.  In those years, the Lions 11 playoff appearances winning only once.  That’s about all the re-hash I’m going to do since I am trying to only look forward with these guys.

Browns fared better since 1957…They appeared in 23 playoff games winning 7 of them including their last championship in 1964.

They also had a very dark period in their franchise when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore and renamed them the Ravens.  For three long years, Cleveland was without a football team.

But the NFL did a real smart move in rewarding a franchise to Cleveland but unfortunately, while keeping all of the Browns history, they were nothing more than an expansion team for a few years.

So here we sit with the Lions at 6-3 in first place atop the NFC North and Cleveland, also with a 6-3 record, in 2nd place in the AFC North.

I don’t know about anyone else but right now, I am conflicted.  I want both teams to be in the Super Bowl but I don’t want the Lions to be the last ones in.  The perfect scenario would be to see them in this years Super Bowl…and while I would be rooting for the Lions to win it, it really wouldn’t break my heart if the Browns took it…provided the Lions went back the following year to get theirs.

But it would be the best of everything to finally see two long suffering teams finally get their chance at the golden ring.

Sorry Browns fans…Go Lions!

NFL Football

The season has officially opened…and this is where I suspect I will have the most traffic.

Each city that has an NFL team has a fan base that is very loyal to that team.  I grew up in Detroit and have been a Lions fan for as long as I remember…and I still have a very strong allegiance to them despite the fact I have not lived there since 1992.

My wife and I moved to the Pacific Northwest over 20 years ago but there I am, looking for any information that I can on the Lions.  Thank the heavens for NFL RedZone which allows me to follow them.

I have been often asked why don’t I switch allegiance to the Seattle Seahawks?  To be fair, I do cheer on the Hawks and was grateful to be part of their Super Bowl victory.  But part of me was sad because it wasn’t my Lions.

Those of you that remember the days of the old FireMillen.com site (where the Seattle Lion Fan was born) knew how critical I was of the Ford Family…but just in regards to how they ran their football team.  The Fords in Detroit are royalty and have done so much for the city.

I was pretty ticked off at some of the callousness of folks that publicly stated that when William Clay Ford, Sr. passed away, the Lions might finally have a chance to succeed.  Granted, there was no one more critical of the Fords than me.  Did I want the Lions to win?  Yes.  Did I want the Fords to sell the team to give them that chance?  Yes, provided the team stayed in Detroit.

But I did not harbor any ill will toward Mr. Ford.  I may have questioned his sanity when he did hire Matt Millen, but then I was among the many that did as well.

I would imagine that all NFL teams have their criticisms of their ownerships.  A few that come to mind would be Dan Snyder of Washington, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys and Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers.

So here is where I’d like to see opinions of what you think of your teams…again, please keep it respectful…we’re all adults here, right?