Previewing the Schedule: November

Below is the third part of a series previewing the Lions' entire 2008 schedule.  For the second part, which previewed October, click here.

November 2 - at Chicago Bears

Although I did have the Lions winning at home against Chicago back in October, I think the Bears will snap their losing streak to Detroit in this game.  At home, I believe the Bears will be able to pull it out despite another poor offensive performance.  Not only is their QB Rex Grossman, but they no longer have a running back now that Cedric Benson has been released.  Their starter now will likely be Adrian Peterson, and unfortunately for them, it's not the one that could rush for 2,000 yards next season.

Even with all of those negatives, I have a feeling the Bears defense and special teams will come up big.  By that, I mainly mean Devin Hester will return a kick or punt to help the Bears win in what is a sloppy game.

On paper: Advantage Lions

Prediction: Bears in another close one

November 9 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Remember those random games last season where Detroit was blown out?  Well, this is probably going to be one of those games.  As much as I'd like to say the Lions will pull off the huge upset, Jacksonville just has too much talent.  With David Garrard at QB and a Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor combination at running back, the Jags will put up a ton of points.

On the defensive side of things, the Jaguars also hold the advantage with a killer pass rush that will feature rookie Derrick Harvey, a player I desperately hoped would drop to the Lions in the draft.  Instead, Jacksonville traded up into the top 10 to get him.

On paper: Advantage Jaguars

Prediction: A very lopsided score that favors Jacksonville

November 16 - at Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are a very interesting team.  They're similar to the Bears in the sense of where they've gone since making an appearance in the Super Bowl.  Mind you, they are in a much better situation than Chicago right now, but they haven't gotten back to the level of success that was expected after going to the Super Bowl.

Even with that being said, the Panthers still are a much better team than the Lions.  With Steve Smith on offense and Julius Peppers on defense, this game, to me at least, projects as one that will be a casual loss.  What I mean by that is that the game is never out of reach, but the Lions never make it close either.  It's one of those games that ends in a score of something like 17-7.  Although the Lions could make a game of it, they never do.

On paper: Advantage Panthers

Prediction: As stated above, Panthers win in a boring one

November 23 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I think of this match-up as the Old Buccaneers vs. the New Buccaneers.  Rod Marinelli has the habit of bringing in many former Buccaneers as he used to coach there.  That familiarity factor allows Rod to know exactly what he's getting when new players are brought in as he has coached them once before.  Take a player like Dewayne White, for example.  White was brought in last offseason and became a starter at defensive end.  Marinelli knew he would be able to do that when he became a Lion and now White is by far the best DE on the team.

Anyways, this is always an interesting game due to the ex-Tampa Bay players on the team, and it'll be even more interesting this year now that more are in Detroit.  Last season the Lions beat the Bucs by a TD despite being very out gained yardage-wise.  Detroit did win, though, and I think they will again this year.

Although Tampa Bay is a playoff team, the Lions will have success against the Bucs due to the familiarity with them.  Combine the former players and coaches from Tampa and it sets up a winning combination for Detroit.

On paper: Advantage Buccaneers

Prediction: Lions beat Tampa Bay again thanks to those Buccaneer roots

November 27 - vs. Tennessee Titans

In this year's edition of the Thanksgiving Classic, the Lions welcome Vince Young and company to Detroit.  The Titans are a fairly young team that offers lots of potential, but they are fairly inconsistent. 

When it comes down to it, I see the Lions having success on Thanksgiving for a change this time around.  Vince Young still has many question marks around him, which will open the door for the Lions.  Will it be a close game?  Probably.  That's what most or all of Detroit's wins will be this year.  Regardless, all that matters at the end of the day is whether or not you did win, and for the Lions a "W" on Thanksgiving would make it two in a row to end November.

On paper: Advantage Lions

Prediction: Unless Kevin Jones signs with Tennessee to team up with Mike Williams for an ex-Lions coming out party, the Lions win this one in a close one.

Recap: I have the Lions going 2-3 in the month of November, bringing my overall prediction for 2008 to 6-6 so far.  The final two wins of the month come after a disappointing 6 straight losses.  That's right, after starting the year 4-0, I have Detroit dropping 6 consecutive games before finally winning again.  But hey, if anyone is that two-faced of a team, it'll probably be the Lions.  Just look at last year's second-half collapse for proof of that.

So, November for the Lions.  What do you guys think?

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