Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Could the Lions Upset Redskins?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

If there was ever a time for the Detroit Lions to snap their 19-game losing streak, this would be the week to do it.

On Dec 5, 1999, the Detroit Lions ended their 16-game regular season losing streak to the Washington Redskins with a 33-17 win at the Pontiac Silverdome in a game that I attended. On Sept 10, 2000, Detroit defeated the Redskins 15-10 at the Silverdome.

So the question is, why would I be crazy enough to think this would be the week that Detroit could win a game? Here are some reasons.

Last week, the Redskins defeated the lowly St. Louis Rams 9-7 in the nations capital and had to settle for three field goals to win it. In 2008, the Rams finished 2-14.

Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is due to have a break out game so there couldn't be a better time to do it than this week against a team that is struggling to score points itself. The Redskins offense has only scored 26 points in two weeks.

Nines are wild in this equation, as 1999 was the year they snapped one drought, have currently lost 19 games in a row, and we're 10 years later in 2009.

If the Lions don't win this week, they'll have to face a large task of facing the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers the following three weeks with a bye on Oct 25 before returning to action at home against the Rams on November 1st.

Facing the Bears and Packers on the road and the defending Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh Steelers at home is a large challenge knowing that their getting closer to the Tampa Bay Bucs all-time record of 26-losses set in 1976-77.

For a rookie quarterback and coach to have a gorilla on their backs could be taxing for Stafford and Jim Schwartz.

To win against the Redskins would be huge because Washington leads this series 27-10.

But the Lions are 8-9 at home all-time against the Redskins, a franchise they lost to in their lone NFC Championship game on January 12, 1992, 41-10.

Other Detroit teams have fared well against Washington squads.

The 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals 4-0 to win the championship.

The Detroit Pistons have fared well against the Washington Wizards over the years in route to three NBA Championships.

Finally, who can forget the transaction the Tigers made with the Washington Senators when they traded former Cy Young Award Pitcher Denny McLain during the 1970 World Series for Joe Coleman, Eddie Brinkman and Aurelio Rodriguez in one of the biggest steals in MLB history?

These three players led Detroit to the playoffs in 1972 under Tigers Manager Billy Martin.

Would a Lions win over the Redskins top these other Detroit teams accomplishments over their major sports counterparts? That would be subject for debate.

But to defeat the Redskins at the most infamous time in franchise history over free spending Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder would be a tremendous feat.

Here is a guy that at one point charged his fans admission to attend training camp practices. Yet the passionate Redskins fans paid to see them practice. If the Redskins lose this game at Ford Field, I can just imagine the embarrassment, ridicule and protests that would be in front of the Redskins headquarters, let alone the punchlines on all the late night talk shows by David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc... These protests might even make it as far as the White House and the Capital Building.

The NFL Network, ESPN, along with all the other entities covering the NFL plus the wave of blogs and websites will crucify the Redskins. It's a burden that any team would have to live with, but a proud franchise that has won Super Bowls which has owned the Lions over the years, could be the victim to end this futile streak thus would never live it down.

What's worse, finishing with a winless season or being the team makes NFL history for all of the wrong reasons to end the streak? Time will tell on Sunday September 27, 2009 in downtown Detroit. This game should be a sellout and I doubt it will get blacked out.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

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