Below is the fourth part of a series previewing the Lions' entire 2008 schedule. For the third part, which previewed November, click here.
December 7 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
In their first meeting of the year at The Metrodome, I have the Vikings blowing out Detroit. Although Tarvaris Jackson isn't exactly the greatest quarterback in the world, he doesn't need to be with a player like Adrian Peterson lining up behind him. Also, regardless of what the offense does, teams facing the Vikings normally aren't going to score a lot of points anyways with such a stellar defense lining up against them.
Although I do see this game being closer than the one in Minnesota, I still expect a Vikings victory. Adrian Peterson will wear down Detroit's defense with another big game, and then Jon Kitna will be on the ground an awful lot after getting to meet the Vikings defense line all day long.
On paper: Advantage Vikings
Prediction: Minnesota wins again to sweep the season series; this one is a little closer, but that doesn't really mean much when the first game is a blowout
December 14 - at Indianapolis Colts
I honestly don't think Detroit should even waste their time with this game. I'm just going to say it right now, this will be a blowout in favor of the Colts. Even in the preseason that's what happened and Peyton Manning didn't have to play a full game. Unfortunately, I see a similar result with Manning departing some time in the fourth quarter to give the back ups some playing time.
There's not a whole lot that needs to be said about a game like this. Indy has a better coach, better offense, and better defense. That's a lot to overcome, and Detroit isn't one of those teams that will surprise people and pull off the upset.
On paper: Advantage Colts
Prediction: Colts win by a landslide
December 21 - vs. New Orleans Saints
The Lions' final home game of the season is also the most winnable in the month of December. The Saints are an interesting team coming off an interesting season, but should be in contention for the playoffs. Even so, they are certainly beatable, especially at home.
At this point in the season, the Lions will be out of playoff contention for the most part with only 6 wins, and will be playing to reach .500. This will be similar to 2007 in that sense, but unfortunately the result will be the same as an 8-win season will have to wait.
I could see Detroit winning this game as I believe it'll be a close one that goes down to the wire, but in the end Drew Brees and company pull it out for the win.
On paper: Advantage Saints
Prediction: New Orleans hands the Lions their 9th loss of the year
December 28 - at Green Bay Packers
With 8 wins out of reach, Rod Marinelli's last hope for 2008 is a win at Lambeau Field to match 2007's record of 7-9. Although I did have Detroit beating Green Bay earlier in the season at Ford Field, everything changes when you head to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau.
One of the biggest reasons behind my original prediction of a Lions victory over the Packers at the start of the year was due to Aaron Rodgers' lack of starting experience. Some people believed that it would actually be an advantage to play him a second time as more film on him would be available, but I see it differently. With nearly an entire regular season under his belt, I think Rodgers will play better as time goes on. He will have more chemistry with his receivers and should be making less of those "rookie" mistakes by December.
Considering the above paragraph, I have the Packers winning to give the Lions something they are very familiar with: a season ending with double digit losses. Regardless of who Green Bay's starting QB is, one constant that always seems like it will be there is Detroit losing at Lambeau Field. It is just something that happens, and with this game coming at the end of December, should happen again.
On paper: Advantage Packers
Prediction: Detroit's up and down season continues as they finish out the year on a 4-game losing streak
Recap: A quick look back on December reveals an 0-4 record for the Lions. This comes after a 4-0 start that was followed by 6 consecutive losses and 2 straight wins. In hindsight, I sincerely doubt the Lions will be that streaky of a team, but then again, as I have said before, if anyone would have that much of a roller coaster ride, it would be Detroit.