Detroit Lions - The Beer Thinker Says a 9-7 Season!

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IIAugust 29, 2010

Detroit Lions - The Beer Thinker Says a 9-7 Season!

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    The Beer Thinker has been doin a lot of thinkin.  And after pouring over countless stats, evaluating each of the Lions 2010 regular season opponents, he's decided the best way to predict the outcome of the Lions season is going to have to rely on his destinctive beer gut.

    So after several 6-packs of his favorite brew (Dechutes Black Butte Porter - shamless plug), here is the Beer Thinkers Prediction for the Lions 2010 NFL regular season.

Detroit Lions Review

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    First, lets review the Detroit Lions 2009 season:

    Record:  2-14

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    32nd Overall
    25th against the pass
    32nd against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    26th Overall
    21st passing
    24thth Rushing
    27th scoring





    For the first time in a very long time, when it comes to reducing the roster for the 2010 regular season, Lion head coach Jim Schwartz is going to have some tought decisons to make.  And the reason is because for the first time in a very long time, the Lions roster contains some very good talent.

    Matthew Stafford will have Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Bryan Johnson in addition to Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler to throw to.  Kevin Smith will return but I would say that Jahvid Best is the leading candidate for starting at running back.  He will bring the home threat that has been missing from the running game since Barry Sanders.

    The defensive line automatically improved when the Lions aquired Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams.  And teams will have to start taking the line even more seriously due to number 1 draft pick Ndamukong Suh coming into the mix.

    The secondary has also improved.  Louis Delmas gers help with the addition of Chris Houston, Eric Berry and Dre Bly as well as fellow safety Amri Speivey.

    Here is the Beer Thinker's view of how the Lions 2010 campaign will unfold...enjoy!

Week One - Chicago Bears - Soldier Field

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    2009 Record:  7-9  Against Lions:  2-0  All-time Record:  64-91-5

    2009 Offensive Rankings
    23rd Overall
    17th Passing
    29th Rushing
    19th Scoring
    2009 Defensive Ranking
    17th Overall
    13th against the pass
    23rd against the run





    Bears cut defensive lineman Alex Brown and lost Adewale Ogunleye to free agency but added Julius Peppers who has 25 sacks over the past two years.

    Lions historically play bad on the road but this could be a possible win for them.  Jay Cutler will still be learning Mike Martz's crazy offense and the Lions secondary will have a lot of chances to make some plays.

    Javhid Best will run well outside but look for Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew early to soften up the defense to set up a huge second half for Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

    Lions win by 4.  Record 1-0

Week Two - Philadelphia Eagles - Ford Field

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    2009 Record - 11-5.  Against Lion:  DNP.  All Time Record:  12-14-2

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    12th Overall
    17th against the pass
    9th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    11th Overall
    10th passing
    22nd Rushing
    5th scoring





    Gone is Donovan McNabb and in come Kevin Kolb.  I don't believe that Kolb wll get the Eagles to 10th in passing in 2010 and I don't see too much improvment in the running game.

    Bryant Westbrook is gone, replaced by Mike Bell of New Orleans.  Bell has some game but is nowhere near the receiving threat that Westbrook was.

    Also gone are WR's Kevin Curtis (FA) and Reggie Brown (traded to Tampa Bay).

    Lions will need to use the pass to establish the run.  With the addition of Ernie sims and Darryl Tapp, Eagles will be strong against the Lions rushing attack.  Look for a lot of two tight end formations from the Lions.  Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew will be key to winning this game.

    Eagles are all about defense and will do everything they can to keep the Detroit offense off the field.  Smith and Best cause a lot of damage on screen passes.

    Lions win by 10.  Record 2-0                   

Week Three - Minnesota Vikings - Mall of America Field

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    2009 Record:  12-4  Against Lions:  2-0  All Time Record:  30-65-2

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    6th Overall
    2nd against the pass
    19th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    5th Overall
    8th passing
    13th Rushing
    2nd scoring





    Two big questions:  Will Brett Favre be able to duplicate last year's magic and will the Williams wall avoid suspension for the 3rd straight year?

    Vikings had a magical season in 2009 led by the ageless Favre who had his best statistical season of his career.  He threw for 33 TD's against a career low of 7 INT's and a QB rating of 107.2, the first time he hit triple digit QB rating.  But he is coming back and I wonder how his 41-year old body is going to hold up this year.  Defense schemes are going to be aimed at hitting Farve as much as possible.  He may be an iron man but he isn't infallible as his 317 career interceptions indicate.

    As for the Williams boys, the pending 4 game suspension still hangs in the air.  Without those two road blocks there to stop the run, the Lions would have an easier time running the ball.

    I suspect this game will come down to special teams.  Perhaps Tim Toone makes his presence known with some great returns, maybe even one that includes a touchdown.

    I am going to assume that Favre and the Williams boys will play.  Favre is a Lion killer but without him and/or the Williams wall, it would be even money.

    Lions lose by eight.  Record 2-1

Week Four - Green Bay Packers - Lambeau Field

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    2009 Record:  11-5  Against Lions:  2-0  All Time Record:  64-88-7

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    2nd  Overall
    5th against the pass
    1st against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    6th Overall
    7th passing
    14th Rushing
    3rd scoring





    Aaron Rodgers came into his own in the 2nd half of the 2009 season.  I have no doubt the Packers are the most complete team in the NFC and maybe even the NFL.  I would not be suprised if they went to the Super Bowl.

    Lions haven't won in Lambeau Field in 18 years and against this team, unless the Lions have "the" perfect game, it will stretch into 19 years.

    Packers have little weakness in defense.  Scoring will be a premium as the Pack gave up only 297 points last year, good enough for 6th overall in the NFL.

    Lions won't get blasted by the Pack, they will make them work for it.  Lions defensive line will give the Packer offensive line something to worry about.  But this is Lambeau Field and Packers seem to have all the luck on their side, especially when it's against the Lions.

    Lions lose by 6.  Record 2-2

Week Five - St. Louis Rams - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  1-15  Against Lions:  1-0  All Time Record:  37-42-1

    2009 Defensive Ranking
    29th  Overall
    25th against the pass
    27th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    29th Overall
    28th passing
    20th Rushing
    32nd scoring





    Ah yes...the St. Louis Rams.  The only team worse than the Lions going 1-15 with the lone victory coming against the Lions.

    Yet the Lions were a better team last year but not by much.  And despite the drafting of Tim Tebow, I can't see the Rams getting anymore than 3-4 victories in 2010 if that many.  They are in the same spot the Lions were in 2 years ago without the humiliation of a winless season.

    Lions will exact their revenge as Matthew Stafford will have his best game of the season and show the NFL just how far the Lions, as a team, have come.  While I have a feeling the Lions will win game by double-digits, the real story will be the defense of the Lions.

    They will give up a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter but they just might pitch a shutout which would give the Lions fans something to really cheer about.

    Lions win by 24.  Record 3-2

Week Six - Bye Week

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    And now for something completey different...take your mind off the Lions and perhaps rent "Some Like It Hot", a Marilyn Monroe movie that can bring a smile to one's face.

    Granted the Beer Drinker might be showing his age a bit but Marilyn was indeed one of the sexist movie stars of her time.

    Now back to Beer Drinker's predictions...or pipe dream.

Week Seven - New York Giants - The New Meadowlands

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    2009 Record:  8-8  Against Lions:  DNP   All Time Record:  20-18-1

    2009 Defensive Ranking

    13th  Overall
    15th against the pass
    14th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    8th Overall
    11th passing
    17th Rushing
    8th scoring




    I don't know what happend to the Giants last year.  Their rankings on both sides of the ball weren't all that bad.  After starting out the season 5-0, many had picked the Giants to go deep into the playoffs.  However, their first five opponets were Redskins, Cowboys, Bucs, Cheifs and the Raiders.  Of those five, only the Cowboys were a team of any merit.

    The Giants did beat the Cowboys twice last year so they have something to hang their hat on.  But winning only 3 games after starting out 5-0 is reminiscent of the 2007 Liuons starting out 6-2 only to finish that year at 7-9.

    Giants did't really lose any players of ote and bolstered their secondary with the additions of Deon Grant from Seattle and Antrel Rolle from Arizona.  They aslo added veteran backup QB Jim Sorgi from the Colts who goes from backing up one Manning to another.

    Giants will be on a mission and Lions will be a victim

    Lions lose by 14.  Record 3-3

Week Eight - Washington Redskins - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  4-15  Against Lions:  0-1   All Time Record:  11-27-0

    2009 Offensive Ranking
    22nd Overall
    16th Passing
    27th Rushing
    26th Scoring
    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    10th Overall
    8th against the pass
    16th against the run





    The Washington Redskins were an awful football team last year.  Despite getting two more wins than the Lions, I believe they were only better than the 1-15 St. Louis Rams.  Gone is head coach Jim Zorn and the 4-3 defense that DE Albert Haynesworth is accustomed to playing.  In comes Mike Shanahan with the 3-4 defense and stood firm in his dealings with Haynesworth.

    Change takes time and the Lions just might catch a break here.  They are facing Donovan McNabb who has had some great game against the Lions but the Redskins are rebuilding on both sides of the ball.  Santana Moss will still be a key element for them but Shanahan favors a bigger receiver so Deven Thomas or Malcom Kelly need to step it up.

    How Haynesworth adjusts to the 3-4 is how the defense will go.  Lions will win as Stafford picks apart the secondary with big games by Johnson, Burleson and Pettigrew

    Lions win by 9.  Record 4-3

Week Nine - New York Jets - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  9-7  Against Lions:  DNP   All Time Record:  6-5-0

    2009 Defensive Rankings
    1st Overall
    1st against the pass
    8th against the run
    2009 Offensive Rankings
     20th Overall
     31st passing
     1st rushing
     17th scoring





    Last year, the Jets were all about defense.  And having the number one ranked defese overall and being number one against the pass is what got them into the playoffs last year.  Rex Ryan's proclamation that the Jets were the "best 9-7 team in the playoffs was no lie.

    Mark Sanchez has a year under his belt and Brian Schottenheimer will get some more pass plays to allow him to be successful.  But Ryan won't stray too far from the "ground and pound" offense that made the Jets the number one rushing team in the NFL.  Figure the Jets to be the consumate time-management team in 2010 as they were in 2009.

    Lions will have to run the ball effectivley to keep the Jets defense on the field andwhen passing, keep it away from super-cover CB Darrelle Revis (if he has settled his contract issues by then.)  But it isn't going to be any eaiser throwing at the other side with newly aquired Antonio Cromartie.  The Jets secondary could be even better than last year if that's possible.

Week Ten - Buffalo Bills - Ralph Wilson Stadium

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    2009 Record:  6-10  Against Lions: DNP  All Time Record:  4-3-1

    2009 Offesnve Ranking
    30th Overall
    30th Passing
    16th Rushing
    28th Scoring
    2009 Defensive Ranking
    19th Overall
    2nd against the pass
    30th against the run

    Bills missed the playoffs for the 10th consecutive deason in 2009, theor longest drought in their 50 year history.  New head coach Chan Gailey has a lot of work cut out for him.  After losing out on obtaining Donovan McNabb and not drafting Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy, the starting QB spot is up for grabs among Trent Green, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm.

    Opponets ran wild on the Bills last year which mitigated a change to the 3-4 defense, highlighting space-eaters NT Torell Troupe and DE John McCargo.  The secondary will be pretty much the same so if the front 3 can contain the inside run, Lions will have to use Jahvid Best on the outside against the linebackers with end arounds and screen passes.  Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler will als be a big pat of the passing/blocking scheme for Stafford.  Look for him to find one of them when they release on his 2nd and 3rd reads.

    Lions win by 3.  Record is 5-4

Week Eleven - Dallas Cowboys - Cowboys Stadium

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    2009 Record:  11-5  Against Lions:  DNP   All Time Record:  9-11-0

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    9th Overall
    20th against the pass
    4th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    2nd Overall
    6th passing
    7th Rushing
    14th scoring





    The Lions always play the Cowboys tough as the all time record indicates.  Cowboys were picked to go to the Super Bowl last year but lost to the Vikings 34-3 in the Divisional Championship.

    If the Lions are going to have a chance, they are going to have to pass.  This is were Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson earn their paychecks.  Stafford needs to relax and take his time for these guys to release.  That means the offensive line is going to have to step up and protect Stafford.  Best and Smith will need to get effective yards on screen passes and Pettigrew and Scheffler should find some room in the soft middle.

    Lions secondary will be hard pressed to contain Miles Austin and Jason Witten.  Roy Williams will be an unknown factor has he, QB Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett have never gotten on the same page.

    Lions hang tough but just run out of time.

    Lions lose by 1.  Record is 5-5

Week Twelve - New England Patriots - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  10-6   Against Lions:  DNP   All Time Record:  4-5-0

    2009 Defensive Ranking
    11th Overall
    12th against the pass
    13th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    3rd Overall
    3rd passing
    12th Rushing
    6th scoring





    Ah...Turkey Day in Motown against the New England Patriots.  Seems almost fitting in a traditional sense.

    Most people seem to think this is an automatic win for the Pats.  I'm not so sure.  Patriots came off a 10-6 season last year, not too bad by most standards.  However, they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 playoffs last year, at home, turf that was so well protected in the past by New England.  And it wasn't even close as the Ravens pounded the Pats, 33-14.

    Dean Pees, a respected defensive coordinator, was blamed and let go.  Bill Bilichick indicated that he will play a larger role in the defensive scheme.

    This is still a very dangerous team but they are aging.  Running backs Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris are all 33 years of age and Wes Welker is coming off a horrific ACL and MCL injury and there is no way to know if he will fully comeback.

    The Lions offensive line needs to take of business with the New England front four, always considered a strength.  But they have not really had a solid line since trading Richard Seymour.  Look for the Lions to establish the running game and eat time off the clock to keep Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Welker off the field.

    Lions take home some turkey this year instead of eating crow.

    Lions win by 6.  Record 6-5

Week Thirteen - Chicago Bears - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  7-9  Against Lions:  2-0  All-time Record:  64-91-5

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    17th Overall
    13th against the pass
    23rd against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    23rd Overall
    17th passing
    29th Rushing
    19th scoring





    By this time in the season, either Mike Martz will have re-established is so-called "genius" status as an offensive coordinator or Lovie Smith has taken him back to the woodshed and beat the living tar out of him.

    I suspect it will be the latter as Jay Cutler will lead the league in interceptions for the 2nd year in a row, perhaps even exceeding the 26 picks he threw last year.  Despite this being the 13th game of the season in Martz's complicated offense, Cutler will still be trying to make adjustments to his game and just not quite getting it.

    Because of the nature of Martz's offense, the Bear defense will be on the field a long time.  Louis Delmas will get a couple of interceptions, Calvin Johnson will have a huge day, maybe even breaking the Lions all-tim receiving record (Clyod Box:  302 yards in 1950 against the Baltimore Colts).  Maybe not but I venture that he and Matthew Stafford will hook up a lot against a tired Bears defense.

    Jim Schwartz won't let the afterglow of the Patroit victory affect the Lions who win the 2nd game of a 3 game homstand.

    Lions win by 14.  Record 7-5

Week Fourteen - Green Bay Packers - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  11-5  Against Lions:  2-0  All Time Record:  64-88-7

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    2nd  Overall
    5th against the pass
    1st against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    6th Overall
    7th passing
    14th Rushing
    3rd scoring





    As good as the Lions feel after a 2 game win streak, the Packers will show them they still have a ways to go.

    Packers are my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  I suspect at this point in the season, they will be looking to win as many games as they can to get the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

    They won't take the Lions lightly after seeing them beat the Patriots and Bears.

    Packer defense will prevail and be too much for the Lions to handle.

    Lions lose by 8.  Record 7-6

Week Fifteen - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Raymond James Stadium

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    2009 Record:  3-13  Against Lions:  DNP  All Time Record:  27-25-0

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    27th Overall
    10th against the pass
    32nd against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    28th Overall
    24th passing
    23rd Rushing
    30th scoring





    Teams were able to run wild on the Bucs last year as they were ranked dead last in the NFL against the run.  So it really was a no brainer they drafted nose tackle Gerald McCoy to improve the run defense.  However, McCoy is only one player and he is going to need a lot of help.  He will get some with 2nd round pick Brian Price, another interior defensive lineman.

    Lions are going to need  to find that nice blend of run and pass to beat Tampa Bay on their hom field.  Javhid Best will do well running outside and pick his spots against the Bucs linebackers and secondary.  This will can be a winnable game for them and I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they will...but not by much.

    Lions win by 1.  Record 8-6

Week Sixteen - Miami Dolphins - Sun Life Stadium

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    2009 Record:  7-9  Against Lions:  DNP  All Time Record:  2-7-0

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    22nd Overall
    24th against the pass
    18th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    17th Overall
    20th passing
    4th Rushing
    15th Scoring





    Key to this game will be how well Matthew Stafford does against the Dolphin secondary.  Miami did a decent job of stopping the run last year but finished 18th only because of a late season spiral.

    Miami runs the ball well enough, brining back the Wild Cat formation.  But Ronnie Brown needs to stay healthy.  Ricky Williams did have four 100 yard rushing games last season and if rookie Patrick Cobb can come back from a knee injury, Miami will have an excellent running back by committee.

    Chad Henne takes over at quarterback for Chad Pennington who accepted the number 3 role this year as mentor to Henne.  Henne can play in this league as he has the arm and confidence to do so.  But he needs to develop touch and pocket awareness.

    Lions could win this game if the defensive line can get to Henne.  Perhaps Suh will have a monster game and you know Kyle Vanden Bosch will keep attacking until the final gun sounds.  However, I think the Lions fall short.

    Lions lose by 5.  Record 8-7

Week Seventeen - Minnesota Vikings - Ford Field

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    2009 Record:  12-4  Against Lions:  2-0  All Time Record:  30-65-2

    2009 Defesnive Ranking
    6th Overall
    2nd against the pass
    19th against the run
    2009 Offensive Ranking
    5th Overall
    8th passing
    13th Rushing
    2nd scoring





    Know what?  I don't care what position the Vikings are in...already in the playoffs, need a win to get in, Favre is the quarterback, Favre isn't the quarterback the Williams wall is there or not, the Lions are going to win this game.  Want to know why?  Because they are going to win it for us, the fans, who have been waiting so long to end a season on a postive note and have a winning record for the first time in 10 years.

    This is the last game of the season and they are playing at Ford Field.  Lions are going to miss the playoffs for the 11th straight season but it will be a season to set up 2011.

    They are going to play their hearts out and give something to the fans for all the support they have given the Lions over the years, especailly the last three.  Showing their trust in Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the rest of the team, they give this victory that promises better times ahead.

    Lions kick some Viking ass!

    Lions win by 14.  Record 9-7