Lions Doubters: Time to Buck Up

The Detroit Lions have shown more than enough to prove themselves worthy to all who doubt their depth and recent success.


The Detroit Lions displayed their most complete game performance of the season to date, defeating the New Orleans Saints 28-13 last Sunday. The entire panel of ESPN analysts, nine to be exact, all picked Drew Brees and company to win. Surprisingly, it was Detroit’s secondary who came up big in the game. Detroit came away with two interceptions and did not allow the Saint’s to target their dangerous receiving weapons, Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks. Brees has recently been on an unstoppable streak and has played among some of the hottest QB’s in the league. The otherwise shaky Lions’ secondary did what few thought they could do, play it safe. They seemed to be sitting back on their heels in coverage, letting Brees and his receivers work in the short yardage game. But they never allowed anything over the top. This proved to be a lethal tactic for them, as they refused to give up big time yards against the poisonous Saints’ attack.

Matthew Stafford was in his usual Sunday form, passing for over 300 yards and completing two touchdown passes to running back Theo Riddick and receiver Golden Tate. It was not just these two, however, that came up big in the game. T.J. Jones, a third year receiver out of Notre Dame, who was recently signed off of the practice squad, also had a big impact on the game. He stepped up well and filled in perfectly for the absence of Marvin Jones Jr., whose campaign has started to slow down after having a huge first couple of weeks. Nevertheless, this has been, without a doubt, the best year that Stafford has had while wearing the blue and silver. After the recent victory, he is now in the top ten for yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and passer rating. Don’t forget, he has led the team to seven 4th quarter comebacks,  a stat that ties the single season record. So folks, it is time to start including the young man from Georgia into the MVP talks.

Sure, the Lions don’t exactly have the flashiest way of going about winning games, but they get the job done. Although they are usually scraping it together in the last few minutes of regulation, they have began to show some serious consistency. That very word, consistency, has been a hard thing to come by with the Lions for many years. Now, they have a competent head coach in Jim Caldwell, whom the players seem to respect and adore. He is far from the fiery and explosive Jim Schwartz, but he stays calm and knows how to close out games. Jim Bob Cooter, the offensive coordinator with the best name in the NFL, has been working wonders for the Lions ever since he came to the D. And last but not least, the defense seems to be showing some serious fortitude late in the past couple of match-ups. They’ve been closing games out strong and allowing Stafford and his offense to get on the field to put up points. “Big play Slay”, the nickname given to Darius Slay, has finally had some meaning to it. The Detroit corner has stepped up this year and has made some crucial plays that have affected games in big ways. So, just how much more do the Lions have to do in order to win over those who still don’t believe just quite yet?

For starters, the Lions must win big against stronger opponents. Sure, the Saints were a great test, but people want to see more from Jim Caldwell’s side. They need to win big against the New York Giants in week 15, or maybe come away with a win against the star-studded Cowboys who have already clinched a playoff spot. In the meantime, they will look to win easily against the Chicago Bears, a team that they somehow lost to earlier in the season. They will also look to defeat Aaron Rogers and the iffy Packers. To really impress the critics, however, Stafford must lead the team to the playoffs, a mysterious term unfamiliar to a lot of Lions’ faithful. Stafford came into Detroit and entered a team in shambles. He worked hard, improved with the passing of every single season, and is now shining through with the assistance of appropriate coaching, a supporting cast of veteran receivers, and a much improved O-Line. Postseason success is really the only thing separating him from some of the league’s best QBs.

With all of that considered, the Lions now have to go and get it. They’ve shown us that the Detroit Lions are not a team to tamper with. They have a defense that has learned how to pursue the ball and control the passing game of their opponents. Offensively, Stafford is having his best season to date and has shown that he is extremely comfortable in the pocket. He has also shown that he is not afraid to turn on the jets and make a big play with his feet. His receivers, Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate, trust their quarterback and are extremely dangerous in the air. Theo Riddick has stepped up as well this season and has been a great receiving back, arguably a top 3 receiving back alongside Le’veon Bell and David Johnson. Even Matt Prater, the former Bronco kicker who was let go after receiving a DUI, has been nothing short of flawless this season. The 32 year old has not missed a kick since week 9 against the Texans, going 13 for 13 in all field goals since then. So, Detroit fans, join me in cheering on our beloved Lions until the very end, because this year, they could really surprise you.