As we begin the double-digit portion of the Lions' schedule, I find myself still disgusted with the outcome in Chicago.
Decorum and embarrassment aside, I would like to step onto my personal version of the Manoogian Mansion steps and channel my inner Kwame, saying, "It never happened, it never happened, it never happened."
But as both you and I and Tamara Green's family knows; it did happen.
This week rookie phenom Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers invade the Lions' Den in hopes of replicating the Bears' efforts. The Panthers carry a less than impressive 2-7 record, but are sixth in the NFL in total offense at an even 400 yards per game.
That's 20 packs of cancer sticks or two cartons of carcinogens, in tobacco road terms.
Expect the scoreboard to light up fast and furious, like a smoker's lounge at McCarran's International in Las Vegas as these two teams should put up some points.
On a sad note, this week also marks the end of the Robert Malone era.
Yes the one-week wonder was given his walking papers after he effortlessly used his foot wedge to send the pigskin deep into the center of the green and the waiting arms of Devin Hester.
The NFL's greatest return artiste gathered the Titleist-like effort and returned it to the clubhouse. So long Bob and in the immortal words of Judge Smails, "Well, the world needs ditch diggers too."
Of course the world needs ditch diggers and the cigarette oligopoly from North Carolina ensures that many of our loved ones will end up there sooner rather than later.
Panthers vs. Lions: it's cat on cat action! I'll leave it there and those in cyberspace, who choose to, can take it to the next level.
Here are the Van Etten V...
Chris Houston will have his hands full when Steve Smith takes the field.
All this time I though the movie Cocoon was filmed in Florida; little did we know it was shot in North Carolina and Steve Smith bought the house next door?
The slight WR must have been swimming with Wilford Brimley and the pods because he has had a rebirth with rookie Cam Newton slinging the rock. With 51 grabs for 591 yards and four touchdowns, he’s nearly doubled all of his statistics from last year with seven games to play.
The Lions' plan is to make Cam throw it often and it will be up to Houston to minimize the Panthers aerial attack and give Smith a stat line similar to the Wright Brothers first flight at Kittyhawk—less than 65 yards.
Like the girl you kicked to the curb during your failed “ship to ship” attempt, who returns and saddles up next to your bar stool in a curve-hugging little black dress you fail to remember while giving you the bedroom eyes; Kevin Smith is that second chance.
After a cup of coffee with the Bears, Smith makes his return to Ford Field under advantageous circumstances.
No. 44 is still suffering from concussion symptoms and as Rick Pitino would say, “Jahvid Best isn’t walking through those doors any time soon.”
In limited carries Sunday, Smith looked good and the Panthers offer a matchup tastier than Carolina-Style ribs. Ribs? “How much fo’ an order of ribs.” Quite possibly Chris Rock’s greatest two thespian minutes of his career, aside from Pookie in New Jack City, of course.
The Panthers are giving up the most fantasy points in the NFL to running backs, so if Kevin Smith was looking to make an impact in his homecoming game, it doesn’t get any better than this Sunday.
Stephen Tulloch has continued to play well this season and was instrumental in bottling up Forte last week with a team-leading seven tackles. This week his assignment is Thunder & Lightning.
No, I’m not talking about Chick Hicks & Lightning McQueen of Cars fame, rather Jonathan Stewart & DeAngelo Williams.
The duo has combined for 1,000 total yards from scrimmage and both are averaging nearly five yards per attempt on the ground. Tulloch will need to scrape and fill the gaps to avoid the big gainers amassed in the Falcons and 49ers affairs.
Beyond the running backs, Tulloch will be given the task of corralling Cam Newton when the pocket breaks down.
Newton has rushed for nearly 400 yards at more than five yards a pop. His rookie legs are explosive and pose a daunting task for Tulloch similar to standing on the tee box at the par four, 472 yard, hole No. 5 at world-renowned Pinehurst No. 2.
With a sleeve of backs capable of breaking a long run from anywhere on the field, the play of Tulloch will be critical to the success of the Lions defense.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in a standing ovation for Mr. Jeffrey Backus.
After the knee injury to Stafford in 2009 and the Peppers abuse last year, the 11-year veteran avoided the Soldier Field turkey last week.
Yes Matthew Stafford, although mentally beaten, was able to hop on the bus, in Chicago, without the assistance of crutches or arm sling. That my friends is improvement. Well done, Jeff!
This week his assignment is top 10 sackmaster Charles Johnson. The five-year veteran has seven sacks this season and is on pace to break his career best of 11.5 bags from last year.
Although not a household name, he’s the reason the Panthers did not resign Julius Peppers and rightfully so. He ranks higher than standouts Terrell Suggs, Dwight Freeney and the aforementioned Peppers.
The former Georgia Bulldog will be coming off the Outer Banks edge in search of his former teammate Stafford; Backus will once again have his hands full.
For the second time in three games, the Lions will get the opportunity to feast on a green quarterback and Kyle Vanden Bosch should be the beneficiary.
After back-to-back losses, the Lions got right against the Broncos and I would expect the defensive captain to be the Dean Smith of this week's rebound.
In Denver, Cliff Avril was able to take advantage of the hesitant QB Tim Tebow for two sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a touchdown as he came from the southpaw’s backside.
This week, Cam Newton brings similar game experience to Ford Field and Vanden Bosch should be able to get to the rookie QB.
Ndamukong Suh intimated to Mike Valenti & Terry Foster that the game plan was to make Newton throw the ball. This should bode well for the man who dons the Marlboro Red contacts and he should be plenty pissed off after getting dinged for $7,500 by the league this week.
Those are my five to watch; enjoy the game!