Thursday, September 17, 2009

Senseless Hope

oh you poor bastard

The season just started and already everyone seems to be all freaked out, worried that we'll never win another game again. It's a sad thing to watch go down. It's understandable, given the fact that we've won, uh, let's see here, carry the one, multiply by x, some bullshit about a cosine, quadratic equation, and . . . ah, yes, 1 game in the last 25. Yeah. As bad and as monstrous as 0-16 is, and holy shit is it ever, 1-24 in some ways looks even more frightening. We've won one game in over a season and a half worth of football. And it's really easy to look at that and start to see 1-30, at which point we will all be scrambling, stepping on one another, screaming horrible things, to escape being drowned in a sea of vomit, shit and blood. It will be awful, the weak will perish, and the lucky(unlucky?)few who straggle from that terrible sea will stagger, haggard and naked, afraid and broken, towards higher ground and the promise of having to do it all again and again and again and again with each passing week. So, yeah, I understand the tendency to panic and begin hording the drain cleaner, the nooses and the razor blades.

But that is all a long way off and we cannot become degenerate animals because of our fear, screaming gibberish at one another like half retarded apes and cursing rookie quarterbacks because they had a bad game in their very first start. No, instead we have to hope. It's all we have, and I said it even in the midst of 0-16. We cannot assume ridiculous failure every week. Even if that does make us great fools. I recognize that picking the Lions to win this week makes me look like a jackass. But fuck it, they are my team, and while that by itself probably confirms that I am indeed a jackass, there are times when I just have to stop wallowing in the dumb muck, suck it up, close my eyes real tight, and believe. It's a stupid thing, completely nonsensical, but we are nonsensical beings, prone to stupid beliefs and outlandish ideas, and even though most of the time the other half of my brain laughs at me and tells me that these idiots are going to lose most of the time, occasionally the other half, the hopeful half, says "Self, you are going to be a dumb asshole today," and on those days, all I can do is nod my head, say okay and believe, if only for a few fleeting moments.

This week's game against the Vikings happens to be one of those fleeting moments. It's inexplicable, it's strange, and I don't quite understand why sometimes I become a hippy cheerleader and why other times I descend into ogreish gibberish, blathering on about rivers of blood and Hitler and all that, but the mind of a true fan is both stupid and complicated, worn down by years of failure, propped up by the very nature of fandom itself, which I suppose is inherently hopeful. It's all twisted and weird and trying to puzzle it all out would make even the best of us go mad.(Some would say I am already there, but fuck it, it is what it is.)

I think the Lions will beat the Vikings on Sunday. I know, I know, I am just setting myself up for epic disappointment and even more terrible sorrow. Adrian Peterson should be able to run for a billion yards against Detroit's nonexistent line and Brett Favre should be able to rain down a few bombs to Bernard Berrian or Percy Harvin. Meanwhile, Kevin Smith will be buried before the Williams Wall and Matthew Stafford is in only his second game, making his first home start in front of an anxious crowd. But funny things happen when we play the Vikings, things like quarterbacks waltzing out of the back of their own end zones, things like Adrian Peterson almost fumbling the game away, things like the Lions defense having the ability to at least hold Peterson in check and keep the game close. That's what happened in both games against the Vikings last season. Of course, our defense is completely different now, with different schemes and a lot of different players, but hope is irrational. Perhaps my brain has finally broken, but I don't care.

I think that Matthew Stafford will be able to make some plays against the Vikings pass defense, especially since they won't likely be stuck in catch up mode from the word go like they were last week against the Saints. The Vikings have some weapons, but they are not the sort of weapons that cause a team to fly out to a two touchdown lead within five minutes of the opening kickoff. That should allow the Lions to stick to their game plan offensively, and allow Stafford to calm down and look for his safety valves, whether it's Kevin Smith on screens out of the backfield, or Brandon Pettigrew over the middle. Stafford shouldn't have to force as many passes as he did last week, and if he can just slow down a bit, play his game, and make the throws that are there, the Lions should be able to score some points.

Meanwhile, the Vikings do have Peterson, and 100 yards plus from him is basically a given. But if they can slow him down just enough, like they did in both games last season, and make Brett Favre beat them, then the defense has a shot of keeping the score down so that Stafford and the offense can do their thing. Favre is 100 years old, he has no timing with his receivers and he will make bad throws that an aggressive defense can turn into interceptions. The Lions pass defense sucks, so they will probably give up a couple of big plays, but frankly, I think Favre kind of sucks right now too, and a couple of turnovers could spell the difference.

We're all idiots for caring about such things, but we are idiots who cannot help ourselves, and sometimes that idiocy manifests itself in fanciful predictions and bullshit projections which stand only the slimmest chance of coming true. So be it, man. I mean, this whole post might make me look like a jackass and a rube, but I don't really give a fuck.


1. Kevin Smith is largely ineffective running the ball. He still manages to gain around 100 yards total thanks to screen passes and he scores a touchdown.

2. Peterson runs for 150 yards and a touchdown. He also fumbles once.

3. Stafford calms down and throws for two touchdowns, around 300 yards and one interception.

4. Favre continues to struggle, but still manages around 200 yards thanks to a couple of big plays, throws two touchdowns and also two interceptions.

5. Calvin Johnson has around 150 yards receiving and a touchdown. After the game Brad Childress kneels before him and kisses his hand, begging forgiveness for daring to oppose his magnificence.

Predicted Final Score: Lions 27, Vikings 24. Yeah, laugh it up. Either the Lions win and I'm happy(and really, you should be to, but I understand that the majority of people reading this are likely assholes and misanthropes. It is also my understanding that insulting your readers is step one in creating a successful blog.)or the Lions lose and you get a couple of posts in which I hilariously bemoan my failed predictions and wallow in the mucky waters of failure as I have done so many times before. Either way, it should at least be entertaining, if not dignified.


Kevin said...

I'm pretty sure the Vikings over the Lions is my Eliminator pick for this week.

Neil said...

I am shocked the Lions are still available after Week 1.