As soon as the NFL schedule is released, there’s nothing better than going game-by-game for your favorite team and saying ‘Win’ or ‘Loss’ for every week of the schedule.
The problem was that when the 2011 slate came out, the NFL was still in the midst of the lockout and all the bad feelings that were associated with it. Then I wanted to wait for the preseason to play out. Now, I don’t put any stock into the preseason and even less this year with the abbreviated off-season. So, here goes my take on the 2011 Lions.
(Just remember that I’m beyond pessimistic with the Lions. Instead of the glass being half-full or half-empty, my take is usually “Who drank all the water?” Besides, it’s not like I don’t have history on my side.)
Week 1 at Tampa Bay: Should be a win, but going back to the days when these two were in the same division, always pick the home team.
Week 2 vs. Kansas City: Ford Field fans kick-off the home season with an easy win over the Chiefs, who should slide back to reality.
Week 3 at Minnesota: This is going to be a long year for the Vikings, especially on defense. Detroit picks up win No. 2.
Week 4 at Dallas: While the Lions have always seem to have some success against Dallas, I see the Lions sliding back to 2-2 with a loss on the road.
Week 5 vs. Chicago: Like the Vikings, I also see the Bears sliding back a bit in 2011, so chalk up victory No. 3. Plus Detroit always plays well on Monday Night at home … and it’s been so long since they have.
Week 6 vs. San Francisco: The Niners make the long trip east and have an even longer trip back as the Lions get to 4-2.
Week 7 vs. Atlanta: Good teams are good no matter where they play. A lot of people are picking the Falcons to play in the Super Bowl. I won’t go that far, but I will give them a win here.
Week 8 at Denver: Always a tough place to play, but I’ll take Detroit to win on a long field goal in the altitude in the closing seconds.
Week 9 Bye: This has been a loss in recent years, but not this season. Lions remain at 5-3.
Week 10 at Chicago: This always seems to be a split with the home team prevailing, so Detroit slips to 5-4.
Week 11 vs. Carolina: A bad team comes to town and the Lions romp to reach 6-4.
Week 12 vs. Green Bay: It’s been a long time since Detroit won on Thanksgiving. But the Lions find a miracle under their drumstick and knock off the Pack.
Week 13 at New Orleans: It’s been a long week of playoff talk and the Lions listen to a little too much of it and get drilled by the Saints.
Week 14 vs. Minnesota: The Lions clinch a .500 campaign with another win over the Vikings, who will wind up in the basement of the NFC Central.
Week 15 at Oakland: This SHOULD be an easy win. But the Lions always find a way to win one they shouldn’t and lose one they should. This is it.
Week 16 vs. San Diego: If this was a playoff game, it would be a loss for Norv Turner and the Chargers. Unfortunately for Detroit it’s still the regular season and the Lions are now 8-7.
Week 17 at Packers: Green Bay remembers losing at Detroit in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t happen again, especially on the frozen tundra.
So after a promising start to the season, the Lions lose four of their last five to finish 8-8. While this is still an improvement over 2010 and prior, it doesn’t feel like a step forward giving the high expectations.
A lot of Las Vegas oddsmakers have the over-under on Detroit wins this season at 8. If I had to lay some money down, I’d take the over.
Of course, you can’t bet on a push, but that’s where I see the Lions finishing.