Detroit Lions Playoffs: Of Momentum and the Book of 16 Chapters

Michael SuddsCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks for a receiver against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I like to agree to disagree with much of what Rob Parker (97.1 The Ticket) has to say, but he made a very astute observation regarding momentum in the NFL that I found thought provoking enough to share.

Parker pointed out that there is no such thing as momentum in the NFL and that last week’s result has little, if any, impact upon the following game. The NFL season, Parker says, should be thought of as “a book of 16 unique chapters.”

Parker’s comments came days prior to the Lions ill-fated season finale in Green Bay.

The Lions had come off an all but perfect performance against the San Diego Chargers in a big game for both teams. This complete-game victory had propelled the Lions into the playoffs, and I just knew that it boded well for a Lions team who now had the reins of destiny firmly in their grasp.

The Lions couldn’t possibly lose to an undermanned Packers team, could they?

The Lions would continue to play at a high level in every phase of the game, wouldn’t they?

Mr. Momentum had certainly taken up residence in Allen Park—or so I thought.

Of course, my Kool-Aid-induced optimism came crashing down as the Lions defense imploded while the game officials repeatedly torpedoed my hopes of an 11-5 season and a fifth seed in the playoffs.

Some time passed, and I had to begrudgingly accept the truth about momentum in the NFL. It’s fool’s gold. Fan’s gold. Parker was right, damnit!

This brings us to the Lions' upcoming playoff game in New Orleans. One might be sorely tempted to consider this game “Lions vs. Saints II” and harbor some well-founded trepidation as to the likely outcome based upon past performance. After all, the Lions are a 10.5-point “dog” in a game being contested against a record-breaking Drew Brees-led offense that has averaged 46 points in eight home game victories in 2011.

Now, I’m going to boot the elusive Mr. Momentum to the curb. The Lions are going to beat the Saints and send a message to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: “You’re next!”

This Lions team will put that Green Bay loss behind them and give the Saints much more than they bargained for. The return of every defensive starter will make the difference in a game that is shaping up to be a real video game shootout.

Yes, the time has come for Matt Stafford and the Lions offense to show the world why they are the most dangerous team in the tournament. Double team Calvin Johnson all you want, these Lions have the weapons to deliver a victory in New Orleans.

Look for Titus Young, Tony Scheffler and Kevin Smith to have huge games while the Saints hound Megatron and Brandon Pettigrew. Look for Nate Burleson and Stefan Logan to redeem themselves after their undisciplined performances in the Week 13 loss.

Look for Gunther Cunningham to design a swarming defense that causes Drew Brees fits. Look for the D-line to dominate the line of scrimmage. Look for FS Louis Delmas to disrupt with speed and power.

The playoff tournament is here, and it’s time to add the next unique chapter to the book of 16.

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

—Commodore David Farragut, at the battle of Mobile Bay