This is about the time of the year where I typically start to pay more attention to football beyond just my teams – the Lions and Michigan. It’s far enough into the season that you can start to get an idea of how good or bad teams are. Baseball is starting its playoffs but that means fewer games. And quite frankly, who’s excited about watching the Tigers score 1 run a game anyway? (Prediction: Oakland in 4. More on that later.)
So I looked at the NFL standings this morning. I knew a lot of teams that the Lions have on the schedule are struggling. I also remember coming into the season that their schedule looked tough. The NFC East was supposed to be so great… the AFC North featured the defending Super Bowl champions in Baltimore and a Pittsburgh team that’s always tough. Apparently not.
The point of the title of this post is that the Lions have 3 teams left on the schedule who are currently 0-4. I expect that the Giants and the Steelers will start to play better, but as of now, that looks hugely favorable. The Bucs suck and probably will never play much better than they are right now.
The rest of it doesn’t look too bad either: the combined record of the rest of the Lions non-divisional opponents is 9-23. Also, the Lions have already been much better against their own division than last year, starting off 2-0 vs. the NFC North while last year they went 0-6.
So, looking at the schedule right now, based on what has happened so far, this team SHOULD win 11 games.
Wins: at Cleveland, at Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. NY Giants, vs. Baltimore, vs. Cincinnati, vs. Dallas, at Minnesota.
Losses: vs. Green Bay, at Green Bay (the secondary is still suspect and that’s a disaster vs. Aaron Rodgers), at Chicago, at Philadelphia.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Lions pulled off a win vs. Green Bay and lost at Pittsburgh and ended up dropping a home game somewhere in there. There’s always the discipline factor that has caught up with them in so many close games in the last few years. They’ve done a very good job of limiting the penalties the last couple weeks, but this team is still coached by Jim Schwartz, so you never know.
Either way, I had them going 8-8 before the season. Now, it looks like they will do better than that.
And that will ease the sting of the Tigers losing in the ALDS.