To be honest, I still haven’t really recovered from The Glory and every time I close my eyes and think of the Lions I still have visions of The Great Willie Young skinning Jay Cutler alive while Jay squeals and begs for mercy. That may or may not give you an uncomfortable level of insight into what goes on in this strange and savage brain of mine, but the point is that I am not ready for this game against the 49ers. I’m just not. And while I am not an official member of the Detroit Lions organization (At least not yet. I’m in the midst of trying to convince Old Man Ford to name me his Minister of Propoganda. Negotiations are going . . . slowly and have thus far included me being dumped naked in a corn field after I insulted Edsel Ford.) I’m worried that the same could be true for our mighty warriors.
Now I’m not saying that they’re definitely going to come out and lay a turd on Sunday, but it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me either. I trust that Jim Schwartz was drilling this very thing into their heads almost as soon as the crowd finished counting down the last 5 seconds of the game on Monday. But human nature is what it is and there has to be some hangover here, right? I mean, I am kind of an expert on hangovers. I understand these things. But no matter how well you understand a hangover, it doesn’t keep you from still getting one, you know? And therein lies the problem.
No matter what the Lions say – either publicly or to themselves – they are going to be hungover. Our only hope is that they are good enough to overcome the bloodshot eyes, the fucked up stomach, the sense that the world is preparing to shit right on your head and then eat your brain, and that they can escape with yet another victory. The good news is that they are playing at home, Ford Field, which has basically become a nuclear powered zoo this season, complete with mutant animals hooting and howling, slobbering all over themselves in search of the blood of the innocent and stupid. The bad news is that, just like everyone else involved in The Glory, the crowd will likely be a bit hungover too. Asking them to summon the same otherworldly passion that was on display on Monday is asking the impossible. Oh sure, they’ll still be loud, they’ll still be disruptive, but that kind of passion can’t be duplicated. Well, at least not without hearts exploding and warriors riding off to Valhalla on their spirit horses.
The other piece of bad news is that they’re playing a real, live football team this week. Oh Lord, what I wouldn’t give for this weekend’s game to be against some scrub team like the Dolphins or Colts (how weird is it to be able to say that?) or even the Eagles (insert schadenfreude induced laughter here.) Instead, the Lions have to play the 49ers on Sunday and amazingly, the 49ers actually look like a real team right now.
Yes, thanks to that turncoat Jim Harbaugh, who pissed on my heart back in January, the 49ers have risen from the dead, escaping the tyranny of mediocrity and of Mike Singletary’s fallen pants, to emerge as a team that is clearly – clearly – the class of the NFC West. And while that may not be saying much, the fact that they broke the back of the Buccaneers and made them humble (I mean, 48-3 is 48-3 no matter how your frame it, you know?) is impressive enough to make all the BLAH BLAH HOW ‘BOUT THE NFC WEST WHAT A BUNCH OF CLOWNS AMIRITE? gibberish irrelevant. At least for a week.
I’m not saying I’m scared of the 49ers. I’m really not. It’s just that this week is really, really not a good week to catch a team that appears to be peaking. We’re hungover and all we want to do is sleep in, maybe watch some shitty TV, perhaps vomit if the need arises and then try to psyche ourselves up for another round of debauchery. Meanwhile, the 49ers are the overeager asshole showing up at our door after drinking 18 cups of coffee, wild eyed fervor in their eyes, ready to seize the day. Sure, in real life you can just slam the door on that asshole’s face or chase him off your front porch with a shotgun but we have to let the 49ers in the front door because Sheriff Goodell says so and goddammit, that’s just the way it is.
Okay . . . fine, it’s time to get it together. It’s time to get hyped. It’s time to remind everyone that there are Armchair Linebacker bragging right at stake here. If the 49ers win, I will be forced to become Whiouxsie’s slave. It’s true. This is serious. He has already told me that he has had a set of chains installed in his basement wall and that he sometimes gets angry and likes to beat his slaves. Horrible, horrible. So, as you can see, we cannot let this happen. I’m not saying the Lions should win for me, but if they don’t, then I’m going to have to live out my days wiping Wiouxsie’s ass and burying the bones of his enemies in what he assures me is a spacious backyard. I don’t want have to do this.
All kidding aside (Or am I???), the truth of the matter is that on Monday Night we scaled a peak that’s been on the horizon for a long, long time, and so it would be disingenuous to sit here and say that this game means as much as that one did. It just doesn’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to win – I do – it’s just that no one will be wailing and threatening suicide if the Lions don’t pull it out. At least I hope not anyway. I mean, I don’t think we’re that tightly wound as a fanbase, are we?
Still, I want to win if for no other reason than I don’t want this magic carpet ride to come to an end. I like it up here, floating in the heavens, communing with the stars. I’ve been to hell and I feel like we deserve to float along in this dreamworld for as long as we can. Plainly put, I like winning a hell of a lot more than I like losing. Who knew?
There’s not a ton to say here. This is a game refreshingly devoid of pathos, which is an intensely weird feeling for me as a Lions fan, and it would be completely dishonest of me to try to conjure up something epic. Instead, I’m just holding on to the simple desire to keep winning and to a desperate need to avoid becoming Whiouxsie’s plaything. (Note: we had a Buccaneers writer lined up but then Whiouxsie killed him with a hatchet. We had to sedate him but even then he bit one of Raven’s ears off when Raven showed up to feed him. I had to spend hours at the ER with Raven while he got that thing sewed back on and when we returned to the ACLB compound, Whiouxsie had gotten free and butchered Ernie Sims’ monkey, who had been staying with us during the Lizard King’s exile. If that last part didn’t make any sense to you (uh, Neil, just the last part?), don’t worry about it. Just smile and nod, we’ll be done shortly. Anyway, eventually we calmed Whiouxsie down with a gallon of Southern Comfort and a picture of Joe Montana. He spent the next several hours masturbating himself into oblivion and while we were uncomfortable with the mess that made, at least we didn’t have to clean up a bunch of blood and pick pieces of brain out of Whiouxsie’s hair yet again. Well, there was some blood, but that’s between Whiouxsie and his chafed junk.)
Ahem. Anyway, as for the game itself, if the Lions aren’t too hungover, they should have the advantage due to the simple fact that Alex Smith is still the 49ers quarterback. If the Lions play like they want to be there, then Ol’ Tiny Hands will probably be in for a long day. I’m actually going to say that I think that Frank Gore will be stopped cold by the Lions run defense. I’m not sure why – call it a hunch – but I just think that he’ll spend most of the day running into the Lions pressure rather than bouncing it out and escaping it like we’ve seen a few times this season.
Offensively, I can see Matthew Stafford and the boys having a few problems. I’ll give the 49ers credit. They’re tough defensively and their secondary seems to be playing well this season, but in the end the Lions have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best while the 49ers have Alex Smith, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis. I’ll take my trio, hangover or not.
I think the Lions will win, but it will be close and hey, look, there’s a very real chance that they fall flat this week and lose. We know it’s going to happen at some point and this week just feels like the logical time for it to happen. Still, I can’t bring myself to psychically poison the Lions with such rank negativity and if I have any hope at all of snaring that Minister of Propaganda position I mentioned earlier, I have no choice but to predict that the Lions will win and also to declare that Ford makes the finest quality automobiles.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: LIONS 24, 49ERS 23