Tim: I must be honest. I feel like I played a part in the Lions’ lackluster performance last week. After two weeks of compelling football-man hair talk regarding Jeff Fisher’s non-committal mullet and Kirk Cousins “my momma did it” J-high style, I totally neglected Brock Osweiler’s poor man’s Robert Pattinson style when we played Houston. Folks, you deserve better. I let you down, just like the Lions have for years, and seem to be on pace to do again this year (to answer your question). We may never know what to expect from the Lions on a week-to-week basis, at least not this season (to reinforce the point that I did answer your questions), but Dalton and I are not coached by Jim Caldwell. That’s why I feel the need to introduce our readers to Monroe, Michigan native and butt-rock bass player Audie Cole. He has a long, lucrative career ahead of him after football playing in Seether cover band. I wish him luck in the future.
Tim: Let’s not forget another former Shurmur role - head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Just throwing that out there for the hell of it. Do we play them this year? I hope so. Back to the matter at hand. Unless I am misremembering, Shurmur and Bradford didn’t exactly make beautiful music together in Philadelphia, but when Chip Kelly is the coach, how much of the offense is the OC actually coordinating. Years ago I made a decision regarding Sam Bradford - never worry about him one bit. I still hold to that today. If I have to choose the Lions or Vikings, though, I’d say it hurts the Lions more, because I can’t possibly see Shurmur being any worse as OC than Norv. Oh yeah, in my extensive research (reading the results of a google search without even clicking on a link), I learned Shurmur is an Ann Arbor native who went to Michigan State University. What a rube.
Dalton: Losing two in a row after starting out 6-0, are the Vikings contenders or pretenders?
Tim: Pretenders. They do have a stout defense, and it is possible that the Vikes could take the division with some of the inconsistencies Green Bay has shown. However, I can’t see them being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Tim: With Minnesota all of a sudden looking like they’re a team with Sam Bradford at QB, the NFC North is pretty tight (except for the Bears, who, giving credit where it’s due, beat the Lions and Vikings). What’s the worst possible record the Lions could have and still win the division? 10-6? 8-7-1? Do you see a road to that record?
Dalton: 10 wins will win this division. The Viks already have a good jump on that but they are starting to come down to earth and are playing like a team with a bottom 3 offense. Now whether the Packers or Lions can steal this division is the million dollar question.Both teams have shown inconsistencies. For our beloved Lions to get the job done, they need to sweep the rest of the divisional games and then win the ones they are supposed to (Jaguars and Giants). Can they do it? Yes, they actually can. But they probably won't because they are the Lions. There is a path to the division, but that path is filled with more ghosts of the past than the Roosevelt Hotel.
Tim: Which Vikings defensive unit or player strikes fear into you and how do the Lions neutralize the group or individual?
Dalton: The thing that scares me the most is the pla that Defensive Coordinator George Edwards has came up with. While the Vikings obviously have good players, their biggest strength is coaching. Edwards has done a heck of a job this year mixing up coverage and confusing an impressive amount of Pro Bowl QBs (Rodgers, Newton, Manning). What he does with Matt Stafford could be his biggest test of the year. The best way for the Lions to beat this tough defense is to keep throwing the short route. The Minnesota D-Line is good enough to get pressure and to keep Stafford clean, he is going to need to get it out quick.
Tim: Is there something new the Lions should try on defense, or is the problem execution?
Dalton: I think it's the execution, and by execution I mean we don't have the talent. This defense is riddled with injuries and I'm not sure there is anything that Teryl Austin can do to make them better. They have to just be good enough to hang in there and hope Stafford and the offense can win them games. This sucks considering how our defense got us in the playoffs a few seasons ago but that's the reality we live in.
Dalton: I think that the Vikings defense is just too good for the Lions to get much going. While the Vikings offense is in disarray right now, the Lions defense may be in worse condition. Vikings win in an ugly one, 13-7.
Tim: I’m thinking the Lions will be 4-5 after this one, too, and like you, I think it’ll be ugly. 16-10 Vikings. Lions will be driving at the end and Stafford will be sacked as time expires.