Friday, September 11, 2009
And So it Begins
Well, here we are. After the apocalyptic nightmare that was 0-16 and all the talk and bullshit gibberish of the last 8 or 9 months, we are finally here. I thought of doing a really fucked up baby analogy due to the whole 9 months thing, but it was too weird even for me and I was vaguely disturbed by the whole thing. And so, just like last season, we will leave that in the past and start fresh.
0-0. It doesn't matter what happened before and it doesn't matter what happens next. Right now, we are 0-0. We could be terrible, we could be awesome. One is drastically more probable than the other - I shouldn't have to tell you which - but we still don't know for sure exactly how this thing is going to go. It's exciting and strange and terrifying all at the same time. But the one thing we are all sure of as Lions fans is that so long as that first number is anything other than 0, we're doing okay.
The New Orleans Saints are the first test on this road back to life, and they will probably bomb the shit out of us. I don't say that to whine and mope and bitch. I'm just saying it because, well, it's very likely the truth. Our defense still isn't very good and Drew Brees will likely pick them apart like they were soldiers struggling off the boats at Normandy. It won't be pretty, and there will be vast stretches of time when it seems like last year's apocalypse never quite ended.
The offense should be able to move the ball fairly effectively though, which is a hell of a lot different than last year's debacle. Matthew Stafford should be able to find enough open receivers to keep the game somewhat interesting. I'm guessing that he'll find St. Calvin deep at least a couple of times. And Kevin Smith should be able to move the ball effectively on the ground. Then again, if the Saints jump out to a big lead early, the Lions will probably be forced to throw all the time in an attempt to catch up.
That's really the key here. If the Saints get ahead by a couple of touchdowns early, they can key on the pass, and since this will be Matthew Stafford's first game in the NFL, chances are good they will force him into at least a couple costly mistakes, and then a couple of touchdown lead is suddenly 28-0 and the ghost of Matt Millen descends onto the sideline and we all begin to weep bitter tears of blood.
This could very well happen. But I think the Lions will be able to match the Saints - at least for a little while. I foresee a shootout for much of the first half that unravels for the Lions in the third quarter when Stafford throws a rookie interception. That's what it will come down to, which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes, especially since both defenses are geared towards causing turnovers. For some strange reason, I think Drew Brees and his astronomical numbers and loads of experience will be better equipped to handle this than Matthew Stafford.
Ty did a breakdown over at The Lions in Winter, showing what has happened when these coaching staffs have opposed one another in the past on different teams. It's interesting at the very least, and kind of backs up what I think will happen, and I like to give him a shout out and perhaps some miniscule traffic whenever I can.
The Lions will probably lose this game, and they will probably lose it in a way that is all too familiar. But there will probably be several plays where we can see the future(without stealing Doc Brown's DeLorean even, although that shit would probably be fun as hell), and when we do we can all take a deep breath and realize that better times are ahead. They just aren't here yet.
FIVE PREDICTIONS FOR THIS GAME
1. Drew Brees throws for almost 400 yards and 4 touchdowns
2. Matthew Stafford throws for almost 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns . . . and a few interceptions.
3. Calvin Johnson has 150 yards or so receiving and a touchdown or two.
4. Kevin Smith has a decent game, but much of his yardage will come through the air on screen passes. He will only see around 15 carries because the Lions will be forced to throw to keep up.
5. The Saints won't run the ball much either. Pierre Thomas might not play, and they will probably keep the Lions off balance with the occasional draw or screen pass to Reggie Bush who will pile up anywhere from 8-10 catches for 90-100 yards as the Saints exploit linebacker blitzes.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Saints 38, Lions 24