Tim: Green Bay. I kind of find it hard to believe that ship has not righted itself yet.
Dalton: What team will prove the biggest obstacle in the road to the Division?
Tim: Green Bay. I kind of find it hard to believe that ship won’t right itself and the way the NFC North is playing out, there is still time.
Dalton: How can the Lions break my heart this time?
Tim: I think it’s safe to say that nothing would instill an instant sense of hopelessness more than seeing Stafford on the ground writhing in pain, grasping his knee or shoulder. So start knocking on the nearest piece of wood you can find. Even if it’s an elderly woman’s cane and she may fall over if you do so, because if he goes down, to quote Bender, “We’re boned.”
Dalton: Jags come into town, winnable game, if they lose this game is all hope lost?
Tim: If they lose this game, I can say without a doubt I will exclaim, “I don’t even want to make the playoffs.” I just can’t see it happening. I did a little research (Wikipedia, I appreciate you being there for me, but I’m not donating. Sorry), and I found that Jim Caldwell is 2-0 following the bye week since he took the Lions job. Now, it’s a small sample size, but in 2014 the Lions beat Miami coming off the bye (no big feat), and last year knocked off the Packers in Lambeau (hey that’s not too shabby). Given all that, if the Lions lose to Jacksonville at home under the current circumstances, yes, all hope is indeed lost. Not just for football and the Lions, but all hope, period.
Dalton: I thought the Jags were supposed to be good this year, why?
Tim: Why did you think they were going to be good, or why aren’t they good? I too, for some reason thought they would be a decent team. It seemed like they did a pretty decent job of acquiring talent in recent seasons, and Blake Bortles is OK, right? I mean, he’s not lighting the world on fire, but he’s been competent, hasn’t he? Maybe that’s why I thought they would be a good team this year. Perhaps I’ve just assumed Bortles was a decent QB, but in fact, he’s not. I still don’t know if he’s good or bad, to tell you the truth. I do know, though, that in my once-before referenced weekly picks pool, I’ve picked the Jags a few times and they have lost every time. Maybe we just both overestimated their talent? I seem to remember them trending upward at the end of 2015, but alas, they are bad.
Tim: It sounds like Deandre Levy is getting healthy. How much of an impact will he play down the stretch for the Lions?
Dalton: If he ever sees the field again, Im not sure his impact can be measured. In a good way. The Linebacking corps of the Lions is a sorry group. Im not saying they arent trying, Im saying they arent good. Levy is someone who can actually play in coverage. The Lions have given up the most touchdowns to TEs out of any other team. Levy is fast enough and big enough to actually cover them. Add in the fact that he can tackle and this defense just go a whole lot less awful.
Tim: Who, if anyone, from Jacksonville could throw a wrench into our NFC North championship celebration (I’ve already got the champagne on ice… I bought a lot of ice)? Do they have any transcendent talent who could go off and tilt the game in their favor?
Dalton: Allen Robinson. He is having a sneaky good year and the Lions have struggled in the secondary. He could potentially torch Detroit and start them down the path of demise. Having said that, the Lions get back Slay this week and Blake Bortles is still the QB for Jacksonville. I dont really see anyone who could make a big enough individual impact to swing this game in the Jags favor but if I had to bet on it, I would go Robinson.
Tim: As much crap as we give Caldwell, aren’t you glad we don’t have Gus Bradley as a coach? How does a guy go 12-36 over three seasons and keep his job?
Dalton: Gus Bradley has the only coaching career more baffling than Jeff Fisher. Fisher gets ragged on because he is the most .500 coach to ever live and still has had a 20 year career as a head coach. Gus Bradley has a winning percentage of something much lower than that (not a math major) and has coached for 3 seasons in Jacksonville. Why they owners dont think a change is necessary is beyond me. It must be his name. Gus Bradley is a pretty BA name so the owners must be afraid of him.
Tim: Unequivocally, no BS, will the Lions win the NFC North? Why?
Dalton: I want them to win so so so bad. I need them to win so so so bad. For both emotional and monetary reasons. I see a very clear path to NFC North crown. All they have to do is win their home games against inferior opponents. But, keep in mind the are the Lions. They will win the ones they are supposed to lose and lose the ones they are supposed to win. That being said, I think they do win the NFC North because I really dont think Green Bay or Minnesota are that great of teams. Please dont let me down.
Tim: How proudly do you, a U of M guy, display your Denard Robinson Jaguars jersey?
Dalton: Havent taken it off since he was drafted. The dye from the jersey has permanently dyed my skin.
Tim: Lions win 31-20, but really the score isn’t even that close. The Jags score late to make it look respectable. I just feel like the extra prep and recovery time given to the Lions, whom I HOPE are already a better team, is going to be too much for Jacksonville.
Dalton: Lions get it done this week. Caldwell with 2 weeks to prepare for an inferior team, finally getting healthy, and a home game makes a scenario where I just can see them losing. First win of the year by more than one score. 35-14 Detroit