0-3. Since 1990, only three teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. Jim Caldwell doesn't care about all that stuff. I do. Of course, one of those three teams was the Detroit Lions. 1995. I said I'd wait until Thursday to drink the Kool-aid and, well, it's Thursday -- the 1995 team inspires hope.
The biggest comparison between the two teams is their offense, in my opinion. The 1995 team was similarly loaded with offensive talent, if you don't count the Pro Bowl offensive linemen. There's a shifty running back. A franchise wide receiver. A quarterback who has put up over 4,000 yards in a season. An underrated slot who didn't surpass 1,000 yards receiving until his fifth season, his first with the Lions. Both offenses put up 20-plus points in the first game of the season and only 10-17 points in each of the next two games. The back up quarterback's name rhymes with Majkowski.
It's now exactly 20 years later, and the 0-3 Lions will once again play Week 4 on Monday Night Football. THE CONNECTIONS! OMG, IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. [Stafford throws four interceptions in the first half of Wild Card weekend--ahhhhh, don't let it happen again.]
And now the 1995-themed picks against the spread.
Ravens (-2.5) over STEELERS
In 1995, the Baltimore Ravens did not exist. They will exist Thursday night.
I completely forgot Michael Vick was on the Steelers until last week, by the way. I immediately thought about the Eminem lyrics, "Michael Vick in this [expletive], dog fall back." Eminem also used Ben Roethlisberger's name on the same album titled, Recovery. HE PREDICTED THEY'D BE TEAMMATES FIVE YEARS BEFORE THEY WERE TEAMMATES. THE CONNECTIONS!
DOLPHINS (+1) over Jets
Jets may be preparing for something...
The Jets are bringing 350 rolls of toilet paper to London https://t.co/zLxPZSt9fU ...that's 6 rolls per player ...— Mike Foss (@themikefoss) October 1, 2015
In 1995, the Dolphins defeated the Jets 52-14. Yeah, if history repeats itself, they'll need every last roll.
Texans (+6.5) over FALCONS
In 1995, the Falcons started 3-1.
BILLS (-6) over Giants
Taylor is the first Bills quarterback to complete more than 70 percent of his passes and throw for at least seven touchdowns over the first three games since Jim Kelly in 1991.
Raiders (-2.5) over BEARS
In 1995, the Raiders started 3-1.
Chiefs (+4) over BENGALS
In 1995, the Chiefs went 13-3 ... and lost in the first game of the playoffs. Seems like where these Chiefs are destined to go! Oh wait, that's the Bengals modus operandi.
COLTS (-9) over Jaguars
The Jaguars inaugural game was played in 1995, and they sure looked like an expansion team last week against the New England Patriots. Can they recover to cover this big spread against a struggling Colts team maybe yearning for the days of Jim Harbaugh? (As their quarterback, as he was in 1995, not their coach, because he is absolutely most certainly not going to coach the Colts next year.)
BUCCANEERS (+3) over Panthers
In 1995, the Bucs didn't play the Panthers until Week 5. They won, because someone named Casey Weldon came in to relieve game manager of the 90s, Trent Dilfer.
Eagles (-3) over REDSKINS
The 1995 Eagles still give me nightmares, but they swept the Redskins that year.
CHARGERS (-7.5) over Browns
In 1995, the Chargers beat the Browns 31-13 in Week FOURteen.
Vikings (+6.5) over BRONCOS
In 1995, the Vikings' quarterback was 39-year-old Warren Moon! John Elway was 35 for the Broncos. Add those ages up and I think you get Peyton Manning's arm strength.
Rams (+6.5) over CARDINALS
In 1995, Jerome Bettis was the running back for the St. Louis Rams. Native Detroiter -- did you know that? -- was just honored on Thursday night. That year, former Lion Dave Krieg was quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals and the Ryan brothers were all coaching together.
Packers (-8.5) over 49ERS
Those mid 90s Packers-49ers games were epic, and the Packers' franchise QB owned.
Cowboys (off) over SAINTS
The 1995 Cowboys won the Super Bowl, which is where some had these Cowboys at least going before their two stars went down with injuries. Jim Everett was in his second season as quarterback of the Saints in '95, a year after this awesome moment in sports history:
Lions (+9.5) over SEAHAWKS
Okay, don't get excited. I don't think the Lions are winning this one like they did in Week 4, 1995. I do think they play with a sense of urgency and keep it relatively close, though. Unlike the Monday Night Football home game in 1995, it'll feel more like that time they went into San Francisco in 2012 -- no real chance of winning, but they'll play hard, inspire some hope and ultimately lose 27-19. The Lions.
LAST WEEK: 8-8
Sgriggl improves to 29-19! JonnieT is 27-19. Sorry kudos and kye_ill for leaving you out despite being tied with me -- my screenshot wouldn't allow me to capture us all.
If picking all of the games against the spread isn't your thing, let me know if you're interested in starting a midseason FourPlay Football league. You pick 4 games each week with a teased spread, +14 in your favor. It's a Detroit-based start up so be a part of something local.