Dalton: It would be nice if the Lions could win this week against the Saints. They have been historically bad at the Superdome, Drew Brees has seemed to of found his place again, and this is the most potent offense the Lions have seen. Vikings play Dallas and Green Bay plays Houston. Not impossible for them to both lose. While a win in NO would be almost a guarantee the Lions win the Division, it is not a do or die game this week.
Tim: What’s your confidence level in Detroit taking care of business and holding onto the NFC North division title?
Dalton: As long as Matt Stafford can play quarterback, I have no choice but to be confident in this team. Green Bay has the easiest of schedules down the stretch but the Lions have two more home games, one against the Bears and one against Green Bay. WIn those games and you win the division. Early on there was reason to doubt this team, but since they have become known as the “Cardiac Cats” there is no more reason to doubt them when down in the 4th quarter than there is to doubt that they win the Division.
Tim: What do you see as the Lions’ achilles heel at this point in the season? Can they overcome it? If not, how does it affect them when it comes to making the playoffs or a run in the playoffs?
Dalton: As of right now, I could say the stagnant offense in the middle of the game. If they can keep it close going into the 4th quarter, they can win. They have proven that, but they could run into some real trouble if they let the game get too far out of hand in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. I’m not sure how they can overcome it, it seems to be a programing flaw (sorry, been watching too much Westworld) that is in this team. Maybe open up the play calling a little bit? I dont know, thats why I’m not a coach. As for playoffs, it could hurt them but it could also hurt them in the regular season. The one thing I’ve learned from this team is that you can’t doubt them until the clock reads all zeros.
Dalton: Green Bay had a big win on Monday night over the Eagles. Are they a threat in the race for the division?
Tim: It’s hard to think of a team under .500 this late in the season as a divisional threat, but I just can’t write off Green Bay. There are too many good players, starting with their quarterback, and the race is still mathematically too close for comfort. If the Lions win this week, I’ll feel a lot less nervous about them. True they’d have to leapfrog Minnesota and the Lions, but I think they’re still confident in their chances.
Dalton:I feel like I’ve asked this question a thousand times but, considering the effectiveness we’ve seen in this blog when we call out players, will DeAndre Levy ever play again?
Tim: I thought he was supposed to play last week? Or was that the week before? To be honest, at this point if he does, it’s a bonus. I’ve noticed Killebrew and Whitehead making big tackles to keep opposing offenses behind the first-down marker, which was something I felt we were lacking without Levy. If he makes it back at some time, great. If it’s this year, even better. But it is what it is, and I think we’re OK without him.
Dalton: Started thinking to myself, if Caldwell wins the division he will be here for at least 2 more years, if he loses it he will almost certainly be fired. Am I off base for thinking that?
Tim: I think you’re pretty accurate in your thinking. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to get rid of a coach after he (or she, maybe one day) wins a division, unless you’re Marty Schottenheimer and the owners finally tire of you getting booted from the playoffs in the divisional round when you win 14 games in the regular season. It’s always tough when you don’t really like the coach, but have to admit they’re doing a decent job. If Caldwell can keep this team moving in the right direction and they make the playoffs, I’d say he’s here at least two more years barring a complete shitshow of a start next year (we’re talking 0-8). Will he be gone if they blow the division? I would hope so, but we’ve seen coaches do less and keep their jobs. If the Packers or Vikings rally (win out, for example) and the Lions end up going 9-7 and missing the playoffs, in my eyes that’s failing. In the ownership’s eyes, though, that could mean a three-year resume of a playoff spot, a losing season and a winning season. Whenever I start talking about these sorts of things, I have two thoughts: 1. Am I even making sense? 2. Please just win Lions so I don’t have to think about this crap.
Tim: I don’t like the Lions chances Sunday. I think the mid-game stagnation on offense puts them in a hole and they rally late but it’s not enough. 35-28 Saints.
Dalton: I don’t like their chances either. But Im not here to be a realist. I’m here to be the hometown guy that the readers can rally around. GIVE IT TO ME, LIONS 28 SAINTS 24!!!!!! DIVISION TITLE HERE WE COME!