Whatever you do, Lions fans, don’t look at the schedule

By Os Davis  |   Wednesday, October 08, 2008  |  Comments( 2 )

Detroit Lions
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“Rod Marinelli won’t quit on 0-4 Lions” – article headline, ESPN.com, Oct. 6
“D’oh!” – Detroit Lions fans everywhere

An ugly realization must be settling in like an ugly Honolulu blue-and-silver cloud over Detroit after the Lions’ worst performance yet in 2008 (and actually, their worst in quite a while, which is really saying something): Namely, this team is grievously in danger of finishing 0-16.

Now, all right, everybody knows breaking the hallowed mark of the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- who ended 0-14 -- is damn tough to do; after all, if last year’s Miami Dolphins (not to mention the 2001 Carolina Panthers) couldn’t top the Creamsicles of lore ... well, it’s pretty tough.

On the other hand, admit that, no matter how bad you figured the Lions for two months ago, you couldn’t have conceived that they’d be this blitheringly brutal in getting outscored 147-66 – and the games, outside of about 3 minutes of the Packer loss, haven’t even been as close as the 37-17 average score would imply.

Back in June, this RealFootballer turned in a column rampantly speculating on the Lions’ schedule for 2008. The piece included this bit on the first quarter of schedule:

...the NFL schedule-makers appear to have been even crueler to the Lions for 2008. As a result, the Lions may again tease but the fade should come sooner.

While not making any specific predictions on individual teams, few expect much from Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago in 2008; the Lions play all three in the first four games. With a win over Green Bay in Detroit in Week 2, kicking off Week 6 with the Lions at 4-0 doesn’t feel improbable at all. Things veer sharply into the dangerous thereafter, though ...

Guess the optimism vis-à-vis 4-0 was a poor bit of wishful prognostication – hey, they were 6-2 at one point last season – and now, the Lions' schedule looks, if anything, even more difficult than it did in summer. Take a look:

Week 6: at Minnesota. Let’s see, the 2-3 Vikings are coming off an invigorating last-minute win against the New Orleans Saints which may just have convinced the purple guys that the playoffs are possible; Detroit goes into Minny with its most deflating loss since, oh, last season’s 42-10 blowout in Week 13 at Minnesota. Oh, and Marinelli’s Kitties are 1-3 against the Vikings.

Week 7: at Houston. Well, here’s an opportunity. Except that the Texans’ 0-4 record is deceptive and includes an overtime loss to Jacksonville and a memorable choke job against Indianapolis that just wouldn’t be possible against Detroit. Additionally, the last time the Lions won away was in Week 8 of last season.

Week 8: vs. Washington. Interceptions thrown by Jason Campbell in 2008: Zero. Interceptions notched by Detroit defense: Zero. Two questions: What do you think the over/under for Campbell interceptions in this game’ll be? And is it possible to total minus-1 interception? Surely, these Lions are in contention for that mark in this game.

Week 9: at Chicago. Hey, maybe the Lions can get into double figures this time.

Week 10: vs. Jacksonville. Hmmm, Jack del Rio vs. Rod Marinelli. Tough call there.

Week 11: at Carolina. Do you realize the Lions are 3-15 in away games since 2006? And that, if everything goes according to the odds, they’ll be 3-18 coming into this game? To think Lane Kiffin’s already out of a job.

Week 12: vs. Tampa Bay. Hmmm, Jon Gruden vs. Rod Marinelli. What a mental battle there.

Week 13: vs. Tennessee. Hmmm, Jeff Fisher vs. Rod Marinelli on Thanksgiving in Detroit, a traditional game that the Lions have traditionally lost decisively since 2003; wow, can I use a lifeline, Regis?

Trust me: It only gets worse after this, so we’ll stop here with the Lions looking at an easy 0-13 and some of the worst yet to come. One wonders today why the domain name FireMarinelli.com remains property of GoDaddy.com; here’s to thinking that by December something will be there.

Unless Detroit has, en masse, rightfully switched channels to Red Wings hockey and/or Pistons basketball. And who could blame them, really?
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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