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Madden simulation: Lions squander opportunities late, lose to Packers

With a whole bunch of injuries to both team’s defenses, the Packers’ defensive unit came up big when it counted the most.

On Friday night, Madden NFL 17 proved that it can most accurately replicate the football that can be seen on Sunday. Not in the way that quarterbacks are consistently given upwards of eight seconds to throw the ball when they drop back, but definitely in how the Detroit Lions are able to have eight chances from inside the 10-yard line to score a touchdown and convert none of these opportunities. Well, that and Jim Caldwell opting to kick a 61-yard field goal on fourth-and-1 from the Packers 44-yard line.

Let me give you the rundown for this week’s Madden simulation for the virtual Lions.

The Lions’ offense came out looking unstoppable. Receivers were open, Stafford had time to throw and the Packers had no answer for anything Detroit was throwing their way on offense. Stafford and Ebron got the scoring started for the Lions on actual Friday, virtual Sunday:

The ball would exchange hands a couple of times before the Lions offense would once again find the end zone to give Detroit a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. This time, Stafford flexed his 87 overall rating:

Green Bay wouldn’t go down without a fight, however. After a field goal from Mason Crosby, the Packers’ defense ramped up the pressure and started making things more difficult for Detroit’s offense. Mike Daniels was one of the first to get through, but definitely not the last:

Stafford would get sacked a total of six times, including two times by Mike Daniels and two times by Julius Peppers. Once the defense started getting stops, the offense for Green Bay took off in an unexpected way:

With almost all of Detroit’s linebackers out of the game with injuries—I didn’t have a choice but to play Antwoine Williams in this game because the team literally did not have enough linebackers—Eddie Lacy had a field day if, and when, he made it to the second level. The next touchdown by the Packers came in the third quarter on a pass from Aaron Rodgers to none other than... Jared Cook! Yet another tight end burned the Lions, and EA Sports lives up to its mantra of “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game!” I’m sparing you all a glimpse into what the touchdown actually looked like in an effort to exorcise the demons that are plaguing the Lions’ pass coverage. I figure if I don’t upload it, I don’t fuel the evil that’s brewing. But Cook had quite the day, catching seven passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

After another Mason Crosby, the Lions finally scored again, but this time it was Matt Prater, and the Lions trailed 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter. The Packers wouldn’t wait long to strike, as the team got yet another Crosby field goal to push the lead to 23-17. Jim Caldwell would do a total Jim Caldwell thing... sort of. In the rain and with the ball on the Green Bay 44-yard line, Caldwell decided to attempt a 61-yard field goal on fourth-and-1 with his team down six. Now, real Caldwell would have punted the football in this situation, but this would have been the next worse scenario. The Lions of course missed the field goal and the Packers would take over. And of course, this is how that drive ended:

The Packers would not score on their two-point conversion attempt, so the lead would balloon to 12 with just over a few minutes remaining. With the Lions now nearly down and out, the team would kick it into the next gear. After driving down the field and into the red zone with less than two minutes remaining, Stafford connected with another tight end for a touchdown:

With all three timeouts remaining, and just a little under a minute and a half remaining in the fourth quarter, the Lions still decided to attempt an onside kick. The ball was booted around and eventually ended up in Detroit’s possession! The Lions slowly moved the ball down the field, seemingly throwing the ball incomplete for two downs and then getting a big chunk of yardage on third down. Eventually, they found themselves inside the Packers’ 10-yard line, and ready to take the lead.

Three straight passing plays failed to get the Lions into the end zone, so on fourth down, the team threw the ball again. This time, the result was no different as Matthew Stafford overthrew an outstretched and diving Marvin Jones... but there’s a flag! Pass interference on the defense and a fresh set of downs with more than thirty seconds left! On first down, Stafford stepped back to throw and ended up getting sacked, moving the ball back and forcing the team to use a timeout. On second down, the Lions completed a pass out into the flats and then on third down, again, no luck getting it into the end zone. It would come down to this last play to decide the game. Again, Stafford set up after his drop back from center and...

A heartbreaking loss that seems like it could end up being all too real after the first two weeks of the 2016 season.

Lions Madden sim record: 2-1

If you’d like to watch next week, join us around 7:15-7:30 p.m. ET at www.twitch.tv/slyest_ry to catch the action live!