0-2 is a pretty big hole to dig yourself out of in the NFL. It’s not only tough to fall two games behind that early, but an 0-2 start is a pretty big mental block, too. Teams start to doubt their own ability and that of their own coaches. Fans start to really turn on their team, making home games more of an embarrassment than an advantage.
And if you’re the Detroit Lions, an 0-2 start would be particularly troublesome. Not only would it be a pretty awful way for the Matt Patricia to begin, but with the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers on the horizon, it could mean heading into the bye with a single win, at most.
So Detroit could really, really use a win on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. But how are they going to accomplish that? That’s where you come in. Today’s Question of the Day is:
Finish this sentence: The Detroit Lions will defeat the San Francisco 49ers if...
My answer: ... Matthew Stafford balls out.
I don’t see any realistic way in which the Lions defense stops the 49ers. It’s not that San Francisco has a particularly tough offense, but the mind of Kyle Shanahan is good enough where he can make a pretty average roster look pretty darn good with the ball in its hands. The Lions defense, on the other hand, has not given us a single reason in the past seven weeks to be optimistic.
Therefore the Lions need to steal a game on Sunday in San Francisco. The way Detroit has done that in the past is with the arm of Stafford. The Niners don’t have a particularly great secondary outside of Richard Sherman, so the opportunity is there. As long as the Lions’ offensive line—sans T.J. Lang—can keep Stafford upright long enough (a tough ask against a good 49ers defensive line), the Lions will have a shot.