Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lions Meaningful Games

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The NFL Playoffs are now just a week away and there will die hard fans that will have their withdrawals when football season is over.

But one of those cities won't be Detroit.  For the first time since 1999, the Detroit Lions will be playing a meaningful football game after the ball drops in New York's Times Square signaling the day January 1, 2012.

In fact, the Lions will be playing a pair of meaningful games. On Sunday, January 1, 2012, the Lions are hoping to snap a 19-game road losing streak at Lambeau Field in Green Bay against the Packers. Will the Packers (14-1) rest QB Aaron Rodgers and some of their key players? The Lions need a win to keep the No.5 seed and avoid playing the surging New Orleans Saints in the first round.

We'll find out if the Lions break the Lambeau drought, but I don't put a lot of stock into this streak since many of these Lions losses have occurred earlier in this millennium during the Matt Millen era. During his eight year reign as President and CEO, the Lions had the worst eight year record (31-97) in the history of the modern NFL.

There is no way that Lions Coach Jim Schwartz could have worked with Millen. Schwartz has gone from two wins to six and now 10 in a three-year span. He's improved by four each year. At the rate he's going, he should reach 14 by the 2012 regular season. I can imagine what a 14-win season would mean to the Detroit fans. The Lions would likely have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and Ford Field (Capacity 65,000, expandable to 70,000) wouldn't be big enough but it would be deafening for the opponent. I know one thing. The Lions could easily pack 110,000 into Michigan Stadium if they were ever this good.

I'm glad Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones squashed any rumors that Coach Jason Garrett would lose his job if he lost to the New York Giants Sunday Night. Last year, Garrett posted a 5-3 record after replacing Wade Phillips and at 8-7, has his team fighting for a playoff berth going into the final week of the season. Thus far, Garrett is 13-10 and Jones isn't stupid because Garrett would easily land another job if he was dismissed. Garrett is one of the top coaching prospects in The NFL Today.

New York Giants Running Back Brandon Jacobs took exception to New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan's over confidence that his team would win their game on December 24, 2011 and saying his team were the Kings of New York. The Giants did their talking with a 29-14 win thus jolting the Jets playoff hopes. Jacobs and Ryan would exchange words after the game and he threatened to punch the coach in the face.

While Ryan's comments from time to time can be entertaining, and I'm sure that he's a hit with the New York Media, he needs to tone his act down very quickly and realize the Jets haven't been to a Super Bowl since 1969. The New York Media will eventually turn on Ryan and run him out of town.

I don't see the Jets getting to the Super Bowl with Mark Sanchez as their quarterback. The long term answer for the Jets could be former Alabama QB Greg McElroy (6-2, 225) who led the Crimson Tide to a National Championship and was 24-3 as a starting quarterback for an .889 winning percentage.  Despite being on injured reserve this season, I expect McElroy to compete with Sanchez for the starting in 2012.

Finally, I will be interested to see where Boise State QB Kellen Moore (6-0, 191) winds up in the 2012 Draft. If there is a sleeper in this draft, Moore is it. All he does is win. Moore holds the all-time record for wins by a starting quarterback NCAA Division I, FBS, concluding his career with a 50-3 record and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. In four years, he finished with 14,667 yards, with 142 touchdowns and just 28 interceptions.  I love QB's that simply win.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be also seen at www.scottsports3.com.

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