The bottom of the Detroit Lions cruise ship to the playoffs split open the moment Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal sailed between the uprights on Monday Night Football in week #15. So why pick the :Lions to beat the Vikings, 28-14, in the Metrodome's final NFL game?
Because the predictable doesn't work with Detroit. Holding a 6-3 record going into a stretch of games against teams with more losses than wins, we expected the players in Honolulu blue and silver to glide into the playoffs with at least a 10-6 record.
Instead the Lions fumbled and bumbled and stumbled in games 10 through 15 and skewered their hopes to win an NFC North title and a playoff spot. The Michigan Gnome and I were so discouraged by Detroit's November and December performances that we correctly picked the New York Giants to beat the Lions last Sunday.
"Hometown Heroes" - Rookie tight end Joseph Fauria has caught 15 passes this season and seven of them have been for touchdowns. Since he seems to know where the end zone is, we're hoping quarterback Matthew Stafford throws 10 passes to Fauria.
"Surprise and Delight" - Here's a holiday wish that none of the Lions' best fantasy football players - wide receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Reggie Bush and Stafford - commit a turnover.
"Hometown Zeroes" - Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff could not eliminate costly mistakes in games played in November and December. It is true that "the players play the game", but playing football requires preparation and precision. The Lions have shown a lack of both in the last six weeks.
"And one more thing . . ." - The Michigan Gnome and I agree that Sunday's contest between the Lions and the Vikings should be the final game with Jim Schwartz as Detroit's head coach.
Summary - We believe Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson will not play in Sunday's game and that helps the Lions finish with a 28-14 win and an 8-8 record.
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