So I got done watching the Vikes-Lions game. I wasn't in the comments section with ya'll because I wanted to be able to actually focus on the broadcast - living in northern Illinois, I'm used to any feeds I get being on my computer monitor, not my actual TV. So I admit, I awaited this game with dread. And I'm happy to report that, even though we lost, I at least got a GOOD look at the Lions with my own eyes and saw what all the fuss was about.
I have to say before we go below the jump, I'm excited about everything but the final score and our record. And you should be too.
We've played 43 games since that fateful November 11 of 2007 when we were 6-2 heading into the game against the Cardinals. We're 3-40 over that span. Only 8 of our losses have been within 7 points of the opposition since that time.
This year? We've lost by 5, 3, and 14, with the 14 being because in the red zone the last two possessions we threw picks instead of touchdowns. Otherwise, it's fair to say that we've been in every game until the bitter end.
This is unlike the teams of 2007 and 2008 and 2009, where we'd be down two or three scores at the end of the first half. We've been up in two of those three games ending the first half, we've been in position to win late in all of them. Clearly, the team has moved from the arena of being blown out early and scoring points in garbage time. Now they are having to learn how to win the late games. And we're having to do it in the hard part of the schedule, which is loaded at the very start.
Look at the Bears. Do they look like a 5-11 team at the moment? How about the NFC East leading Eagles? You know, the ones who were a very dumb Shaun Hill 2 minute drive away from a loss? Who just put a pasting on the Jaguars? The Vikings who were a game away from the Super Bowl last year? Or the likely class of the NFC this year in Green Bay, who had a 17 point lead on those same Eagles until garbage time?
Yes, we're likely to be 0-4 after next week. However, the next part of their schedule is the Rams, the Redskins, the Jets, the Bills, the Cowboys. Realistically, there's a good chance they could be 4-5 headed into Thanksgiving Day. The Rams are the Rams, led by a rookie. The Redskins just lost to those Rams. The Jets, it's pretty easy to think they'll lose that one for sure. But the Bills? Trent Edwards? I don't think so. And the Cowboys? Maybe so - but they look vulnerable right now, don't they, sitting at 1-2 and looking worse against the Bears than Shaun Hill did?
The D-Line has obviously improved. The secondary, believe it or not, is getting visibly better. That long streak of 100+ QB rating games is finally broken. With 8 new starters in the lineup, it takes time for everyone to be comfortable in the system and know where they're supposed to be, and four preseason games is not enough time. As far as the offense? With our backup QB, we've put up 32 against the Eagles and 21 against the Bears, refs be damned on that last one. The offense looks fine, with some minor problems that are almost entirely predicated on the fact that you don't have your starting QB in there.
I am not panicking. Most teams who, right now, would have had to play these same three teams in succession, would be 1-2 against them at best. Many of those teams who right now are feasting on the likes of Cleveland, Buffalo, and Carolina might well be 0-3 just like us after those games. It may feel like 2008 right now, but we are far better now then we were then. Hell, looking at the schedules right now in the NFC North, I'll make a bold prediction: The Lions will have AT LEAST as many wins by the end of Week 7 as the Vikings.
And you can give me all the hell you want after Week 7 if I'm wrong. But if I'm right, and you're one of those Debbie Downers that see nothing but losses until the end of time, you can do just penance then when next I FanPost.