I've been catching up on my Lions news and views after taking a much needed rest. One thing I like to do is see what the opposition media/fan opinion is after a game. For instance, after losing to the Jets their media and fans were talking abou thow lucky they were, and how scary close Detroit was to beating them. They felt Detroit was much better than they anticipated.
After Thanksgiving, I saw articles talking about how the Lions finally put on a great Thanksgiving show with a game tied at the half, competitive into the late 3rd quarter before the Patriots pulled away and made it a rout in the the 4th.
Against the Bears, it was about how the Lions were close, but their Stanton didn't hurt them, but didn't make the big plays and the defense couldn't hang on through the game time injuries. Bears fans are worried about their team being one and done in the playoffs, and most felt the Lions are on the way up while they are headed in the other direction.
So, imagine my surprise when this was the most common type of comment I was seeing about the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Lions on Sunday:
"take Brady out of the Thanksgiving Day game and Detroit might beat NE. Take any top QB off his team and the opponent has a good shot at winning. God, this is nothing new....it's been like that since the 1920's for god sake."
Pete Daughtry at the Green Bay Press Gazette had a great article that pointed out a sobering fact for Green Bay fans they didn't like: Take away Rodgers (the starting QB) and they are just as bad as Detroit is without their starting QB. He even went so far as to say that if Green Bay had Hill then Stanton under center, and the Lions had Rodgers the records for the two teams would be reversed -- with no other changes. The Lions would possibly even be better.
Hey Green Bay fans -- I know he's only been in three games this year, but Matthew Stafford is the number one QB for the Lions. Guess what else? Shaun Hill is the number two QB for the Lions. Drew Stanton -- that guy you saw starting Sunday -- is the Lions' 3rd QB. You know -- the guy who runs the scout team and is normally inactive on game day and holds a clipboard. Lots and lots of clipboard holding.
Green Bay Packer Fans: Your #1 QB was in the game for almost a full half. Detroit was playing its' QB3. In teh second half, you were playing your QB #2. Detroit still was playing QB #3.
As for injuries, Detroit is down just as many starters as you are Green Bay. Newsflash: You were the team with "depth" and "playoff potential" and "Superbowl Contenders". The Lions were expected to win 4-6 games. And that was WITH a healthy Matthew Stafford.
Looking at this objectively, this leaves only three possible scenarios:
1. Green Bay is a MUCH worse team than advertised
2. The Lions are a MUCH better team than advertised
3. The perception for both teams was skewed by the quarterback position -- which is important. But that outside of quarterback for good or bad the overall talent level of the teams is about equal.
For Lions fans this is great news!! For Packer fans...well...sometimes, the truth hurts. You better get used to the new reality because an automatic "W" for two games on your schedule is no longer there next to "Detroit" on the schedule.
However, there is a silver lining: If Minnesota keeps self destructing spectacularly, you may have a new favorite NFC North opponent.