By 4:30PM EST on Sunday, November 11th, the Detroit Lions will be 5-4 and still in the wild card hunt (albeit a very tough schedule ahead).
Here's what we're looking at:
10/28 vs. Seattle
We all know the Seahawks boast some of the most agressive, physically gifted corners in the NFL. Their style of play is much like that of the Bears. However, I believe the Chicago game showed our coaching staff some ways to beat a lot of the coverage we'll be facing Sunday. With Burleson out, Titus and Broyles get their chance in the spotlight. They'll work the slot and middle of the field. We'll run a lot of short crossing patterns to keep Seattle's safeties honest, which will open up CJ for some bigger plays.
I also believe our running game is going to take major strides. Minus the turnover, Leshoure looked good against a stout Bears D (5.3 yards/carry). While I think the team tries to get back to what we're known for in the passing game, I can see things opening up for an underrated Leshoure against a Seattle run D that gets probably a little more recognition than they probably should.
The burn of the Bears game (this team knows we should've won if we could've t held onto the ball) combined with our return home against a low-scoring Seahawks offense will spark a fire under this team to get the W. I won't predict the final score, but I see us winning by two possessions.
11/4 @ Jacksonville
The Jaguars are 0-3 at home so far, have lost three straight, are in the top 10 in the NFL for points against and have scored a league low 88 points this season. Momentum from our win against Seattle will follow Detroit on the road, where we'll face a QB with happy feet, a broken down running game without MJD and a pass defense that has Stafford and co. licking their chops. I see Jacksonville putting up a fight early in this game simply because they'll be in front of their home crowd. But in the end, no 4th quarter comeback will be needed from the Lions in this one as we win convincingly.
11/11 @ Minnesota
The rematch. I thought our o-line held up pretty well against the Vikings front four. Allen was quiet and our pass protection was good as Stafford picked apart their secondary for 319 yards. I realize he threw the ball 50+ times. But that's because we were playing from behind. No way Percy returns another kickoff for a TD. Minny's offense was stagnant against Detroit back in Week 4 and we have no reason to believe it will pick up in a few weeks. Delmas is back, the Phonz will only get better as he gets back into game shape and our d-line has looked better with every game. Ponder will be on his back during this contest. AP will get his yards but it won't be enough. We return the favor from a few weeks ago and win this game by one score.
I believe this team still has some fight in them. The talent is there, they just haven't been clicking yet. The Packers started slow and now look like the team everyone thought they were going to be at the start of the season. I have no reason to believe the Lions can't do the same. They just need to do it sooner rather than later. But these next three games coming up are the perfect opportunity to right the ship.
The sky has yet to fall.