I know it’s only Week 2 of the NFL season, but there is something strikingly different about the 2011 season that I haven’t seen in well over a decade.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the Detroit Lions, the Washington Redskins and the Buffalo Bills are all 2-0. This is about as ironic as can be, coming from a guy who watched as the Lions' best years (the Barry Sanders years) were dominated by playoff appearances by the Redskins and Bills.
So, it got me thinking about the odds of it all—not just the odds that the Lions would make the playoffs, but what are the odds that this year's play off picture will resemble that of something in the '92 season?
Just as a refresher, Super Bowl XXVI featured the NFC champion Redskins (17-2), who defeated the AFC champion Buffalo Bills (15-4) with a final score of 37-24. The Redskins crushed the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game 42-10, and the Kansas City Chiefs were handled quite well by the Buffalo Bills 37-14 in the AFC Championship game.
OK, back to my wondering about the “odds." What would be the odds of the Super Bowl being a showdown between the Detroit Lions, with a first-round draft pick in Matthew Stafford, and a Harvard graduate quarterback leading another perennial loser in recent years, the Buffalo Bills?
Now that would be a game with some storylines behind it!
One thing is pretty clear at this point in time: The Buffalo Bills will probably not be facing the same opponent they did in the '91 AFC Championship game (if they both make it in 2012). The Chiefs apparently didn’t get the memo that this was the year for the '92 championship reunion, as they have been languishing at the very bottom in most categories they count in NFL statistics, except for running the ball.
Who's most likely to be in the NFC Championship game?
Yet, another thing is obvious to anyone who has watched the first two Lions games: there is no way this defense is going to give up 42 points (as the Lions did in '92 to the future Super Bowl champion Redskins) to any team in the NFL. So, we can rest assured knowing that if the Lions make it to the NFC Championship game, it will be a game.
Now, after a thrashing by both the Bills and the Lions, I have to honestly admit that I hope the Chiefs are better than they've looked. If they aren’t better than they've looked, it makes the performances of both the Bills and the Lions in Weeks 1 and 2 a lot less impressive, regardless of the scores.
So, for all those of you who want to see a '92-esque playoff picture, I say “Go Chiefs!”
For that matter, if they win from here on out, it makes the Lions' strength of schedule report numbers higher, and that's good enough for this Lions' fan.