Posts about Detroit Lions

Ravens edge out the Lions; ranking the top 5 teams in the NFL

Lions vs. Ravens

Who says that you need touchdowns to win a game in the NFL? On the road and trying to stay in the driver’s seat for a wild card spot, along with an outside shot at the division, Baltimore was able to do so. The Ravens jumped on Justin Tucker’s back (leg) as he made six field goals, including a 61-yard for the go-ahead score in the final minute. Is there any doubt that he swung thousands of fantasy leagues last night and the few weeks past? Tucker has been on fire lately and John Harbaugh’s decision to let his kicker attempt from 61 yards was the right call. The Ravens offense looked very stale at certain points but they did enough to get in range for field goal after field goal. The first quarter was all Detroit, getting an early touchdown but from there, things just didn’t click on offense. Weird to say that when the Lions have the kinds of weapons that they do. Stafford’s three interceptions are glaring on the stat sheet but the Lions shot themselves in foot multiple times in the game. A dropped pass here, a bad penalty given up there. Joe Flacco was quite opposite of that, not dominating the stat sheet but instead limiting his mistakes while doing just enough for Baltimore to get into field goal range. It was a very important victory for Baltimore, needing to win against the Lions because their next two games will both be tough. With a bit of luck this coming weekend, they could be in position to play for the division title against Cincy when week 17 rolls around. The Lions loss gives the division back to the Bears but with a favorable schedule, they could be back on top as soon as this coming weekend. It’s just the silver lining because losing four of your last five is not the way a team wants to head into the final two weeks with the playoff hopes on the line.

Interesting weekend for some of the top teams in the NFL. Five division leaders (Broncos, Patriots, Bengals, Saints and Eagles) all lost their games this weekend. The stakes were a bit higher in the AFC, where none of the teams just mentioned were able to take advantage of the results. But despite those losses, are the Broncos and Patriots BOTH among the best five teams in the league. Unfortunately for Brady and co, their injury plagued team doesn’t make the cut this time around. Seattle is the clear #1 once again, dominating on the road this past Sunday en route to securing the top seed in the conference. After the Seahawks, it gets a bit complicated because the argument is how to rank established record versus positive momentum in the past few weeks. Denver is coming off a loss but because they hold the tie breaker over the Chiefs (the hottest team in the conference), the Broncos get the edge there. The same goes for the Saints, coming off a puzzling loss and going into Carolina this weekend. I’m giving the edge to the Panthers as the second best team in the conference because despite not owning the tie breaker over New Orleans, they still control their own destiny. The winner of that massive game this weekend will all but seal their spot for a second seed in the conference along with a first round bye. Right, in order, i’d say it’s: Seahawks, Broncos, Panthers, Chiefs and Saints. That does leave out the 49ers, a team firing on all cylinders but because they lose tie breakers to both the Saints and Panthers, they don’t make the cut this time. It’s going to be crazy watching all of the best teams in the league sort each other out in the last couple of weeks. The only downside to that previous sentence is that, as stated, there are only two weeks left in the regular season. Let’s just enjoy these last two precious weeks as much as we can.

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Leftovers from Thanksgiving Day’s slate of NFL games

Oakland Raiders v Dallas Cowboys

It’s always a good day when we can enjoy lots of Thanksgiving food (whatever time every person does it) while having football on the TV for the entire time. I don’t know if we hit the 12 hour mark last night but football fans were pretty close to have 12 straight hours of football. Minus the hour or so of pre-game and halftime shows. The day started off with the Lions and Packers, an NFC North rivalry that goes back a long time but just doesn’t have the same impact without Aaron Rodgers. Back up Matt Flynn was over matched the entire game, sacked 7 times while only throwing 139 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Credit to the Lions defense as well because they had as big of an impact on this game as some of the best defenses in the league. On offense everything was clicking with Detroit, from top to bottom. Matt Stafford had a couple of turnovers to begin the game (one going back for a score) but towards the end of the second quarter, everything was smooth sailing for the Lions. Megatron was Megatron and their combo running game of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell really brought the offense to another level, much more balanced. Not that anyone felt different but every week confirms that Aaron Rodgers means more to the Packers success than probably any other team in the league. Right now it’s uncertain if he’ll return next week. Now the Lions are back in the driver’s seat for the division as they await this Sunday’s results.

Our second helping of the day featured an odd game between the Cowboys and Raiders. It’s odd because on the very first play of the game the Raiders caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. So we’re 12 seconds into the game and the Raiders are up by a touchdown. Things continued to favor the Raiders for rest of the half, doing all the right things on offense. Sure, the Cowboys defense is among the worst of the league but it’s not like the Raiders offense had been lighting it up. At halftime the teams completely switched and the Cowboys nearly dominated the second half from start to finish. The Raiders made things interesting late in the game by getting within one score but without any of their timeouts, it was difficult for Oakland to get the plays they needed. DeMarco Murray led the way in terms of stats (3 rush TDs) but it was a combination of different players on the Cowboys offense that engineered their drives. The Raiders on the other hand didn’t do well against the Cowboys halftime adjustments, showing little signs of what they had done in the first half. Another bad season for the Raiders as they look at making changes and the coming draft. The Cowboys, like the Lions, take hold of the division lead as they await results. Quick shout out to Selena Gomez for looking good during the halftime show.

Things wrapped up in Baltimore with the heated rival Pittsburgh Steelers in town. Normally this is a must watch for any football fan but this season the teams aren’t doing as well as we’re used to. Did they still provide from of the same hard-hitting entertainment? There were some big hits to go with a few scuffles but there were also a lot of odd occurrences. The game came down to an unsuccessful two-point conversion but from the botched field goal to Mike Tomlin’s on the field interference, it was a weird game. But a win is a win and for Baltimore, it keeps them alive in the heated race for the second wild card spot in the conference. All the white keeping the pressure on the Bengals, who are in San Diego this weekend, for the division lead. It was maddening to watch how long it took Pittsburgh to get some offense going, not being able to find the scoreboard until halfway through the 3rd quarter. An offense that looked so good the past couple of weeks sputtered out of the gate and played catch up the entire game. It’s not the type of game that the Steelers want to play when they’re fighting to stay alive for a spot in the postseason. On a side note, the league is looking into Tomlin’s interference on that kick return.

Anyone else riding the Buccaneers (-8) in Carolina this weekend? The Panthers are on a big streak right now but it’s not a streak where they blow teams out as of late. This is a completely different Bucs team from the one the Panthers beat handily about a month ago. The Bucs are playing solid football and I see them keeping it close in Carolina on Sunday.

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Leftovers after a crazy Thanksgiving day in the NFL

 

Depending on how your team performed yesterday, you were either thankful they played or thankful that they were finally off your TV screen. Unfortunately I was part of the latter as my Cowboys decided to participate in their game until after halftime but we’ll get to that. First things first:

What was Jim Schwartz thinking when he threw the challenge flag? I understand that emotions sometimes make you do things that aren’t entirely logical but everyone knows that every scoring play in the NFL is reviewed. Even plays that are clearly TDs are looked at a couple of times over. The Texans took advantage of the break and rallied to tie the game late and take the victory 34-31 in OT against the Lions. The controversial scoring play didn’t doom the Lions, they actually scored another TD after that but it still lingered throughout the rest of the game and was one those obvious “what if?” plays. This loss essentially eliminates any realistic chances of the Lions participating in the postseason and it puts Houston one step closer to securing  the best record in the AFC.

The second game brought forth another classic NFC East rivalry game between the Redskins and Cowboys (isn’t that kind of ironic considering the holiday? Redskins against America’s Team?) but it can only be considered a game if both teams play in the first half. RG3 was spectacular (20-28, 311 yds, 4 TDs, 1 int, 29 rush yds) to lead the Redskins in beating the Cowboys 38-31 and suddenly put them in the running to win the NFC East. The Cowboys looked like a different team in the second half and rallied within one score but once again it was too big a hole that they’d dug themselves into. Both teams are now looking at Sunday night’s game, hoping for a Giants loss.

The final game on Thanksgiving between the Patriots and Jets was one-sided to say the least. How did the night go for the Jets? Well if Mark Sanchez getting tackled and fumbling because of his lineman’s ass (pictured above) doesn’t tell you, I don’t know what can. The game was over by halftime but particularly in the 2nd quarter when the Patriots scored 35 points, including 3 TDs in a span of 53 seconds. Tom Brady was crisp and the Patriots offense didn’t miss a beat even though they’re without Gronkowski, easily the best tight end in the league. As the Patriots finished the 49-19 victory many Tebow chants were heard from the crowd but once again, number 15 was not seen taking a snap.

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Rehashing the 7th week of this NFL season

I decided to take a different approach as to what I write on here. Normally i’d just recap whatever happened over the weekend, giving a few opinions here and there but that seemed to bland. That sort of thing can be found anywhere online and even though there are hundreds of thousand of sports blogs, i’d like to be as original as possible. I’m just going to go through a few main questions, trying to post about the same topics but with a slightly different view.

Performances of the week: Take into account what Chris Johnson has done prior to week 7. For him to go from THAT to this week’s performance (195 yds, 2 TDs) gives him the crown for this week. Dare we say, is CJ2K back to normal form? Let’s not too excited because he was facing the Bills who are in a close battle with the Saints for the worst defense in the league. Speaking of the Saints, they traded shots during a shootout with the Buccaneers. As a result, their QBs Freeman (420 yds, 3 TDs) and Brees (377 tds, 4 TDs) both had a great games. Yes, I know Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, who is on my fantasy team, had an insane game (216 yds, 1 TD) but he was run down by a guy who was about 50 yards away on a 95 yard run. Let’s get a little most hustle next time Jackson. Last player I have to mention is RG3 because he’s so incredible to watch. This past Sunday Griffin almost out-Eli’d Eli Manning on the road! As a Cowboys fan it makes me very nervous looking forward to the games against the Redskins.

Who are the top 5 teams in the league? For obvious reasons the Falcons lead the way (until they get beat, they’re going to be on top) the Bears are a close second (that defense makes teams work for every single yard that they gain) with a similar team, the Texans (destroying the Ravens was a statement to prove they’re a the best in the AFC) and even though both teams are 5-2, i’m putting the Giants slightly ahead of the 49ers because of their head-to-head match up they just completed a couple of weeks ago. The Ravens (5-2) still lead their division but they look absolutely lost after the injuries they faced on their defense. I still need to see more from the Vikings (5-2) before I put them among the elite and they can do that on Thursday when they face the Buccaneers. 

The NFL is visiting Europe this Sunday: This weekend the New England Patriots will square off against the St. Louis Rams inside the historic Wembley Stadium located in London, England. Am I the only one what sees the irony in sending the Patriots to play in England? Anyways, it should be an interesting game because the Patriots are coming off a performance where they almost blew a double-digit lead at home to a divisional rival. The Rams are a frisky team that always keeps games close as seen last week against a Packers team that seems to be on fire now.

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