I’m not going to bullcrap you. The Detroit Lions’ season finale against the Green Bay Packers could get ugly, very ugly. The Packers still have a first-round bye on the line, while the Lions have nothing but pride to play for. And when it comes to the actual talent on the field, there is no comparison. The Packers are a much better team, and unless there is some sort of mystical hand at work here, they’re likely going to run the Lions out of their own building.
But if you put the potential result aside and forget about winning and losing for a moment, there are some reasons to tune into Detroit’s Week 17 finale. Let’s go over some of those.
1. Draft watch
If the Lions lose to the Packers, they are guaranteed to hold no worse than the No. 3 overall pick. That’s a prime position to draft a high-impact player come April or even have the draft capital to trade down acquire more picks.
If they get a little help from Washington, they could even jump up to No. 2 in the draft, which would put them in the position to grab the best college prospect not named Joe Burrow.
2. Last games a Lions?
For a couple of key contributors over the last few seasons, Sunday could be the last time we see them play in Honolulu Blue. Offensive lineman Graham Glasgow is looking more and more likely to test free agency in March. Miles Killebrew has been a special teams figure since he was drafted by the team, but the Lions may be looking for someone a little more valuable on defense. Hell, even Don Muhlbach... no, wait, I’m not going to finish that sentence.
Then there’s Darius Slay. While the Lions’ star corner is still under contract for 2020, he held out last year and he could do it again this upcoming offseason. With his clear discontent after the Quandre Diggs trade, he’s even a candidate to be traded away this offseason. Keep that in the back of your mind as you watch Big Play make his last appearance of 2019.
3. Danny Amendola setting career benchmarks
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Danny Amendola needs 137 yards against the Packers to reach 800 on the year and receive a $250,000 bonus for the season. But Amendola only needs 28 yards to reach his career high of 690 yards. He’s been one of the few success stories this year, and it’d be nice to see him rewarded for his good play and relentless effort.
4. Because football is better than no football
I know this year has been a drag, and I know most of us are probably sick of seeing the Lions get outclassed week after week after week. A nine-game losing streak sucks, and it sucks even more when you’re getting swept by your division rivals. It sucks when you have to watch a third-string rookie quarterback struggle his way through four quarters while the opposing quarterback—no matter how mediocre—torches Detroit’s battered defense.
But it’s still better than no football at all. We’ve got nine months of nothingness ahead of ourselves, where we’ll spend way too much time yelling at each other about draft picks, 2020 predictions and coaching staff decisions. I would much rather be talking about actual football than predictions and mock drafts and all the other things we waste our time with in between regular seasons.
So sit back, grab the nearest stress ball, and try to enjoy Lions football for one more time in 2019.