Friday, December 30, 2011

Time to Cut the Cheese and Seeding Myths

I'm not talking about silent but deadly in the headline -- I am of course referring to the Green Bay Packers!  Despite those calling for rest, I think the Lions need to go all out to beat the Pack at Lambeau for the first time in 20 years for a variety of reasons. 

1. The Fifth seed is preferrable to the Sixth seed at this point (though I'll explain below how I don't think its as big a deal as everyone is stating)
2. The team, already on a year of breaking records (in a good way for once) would do well to take this opportunity to end the Lambeau curse.  As long as Aaron Rodgers is doing the discount double check, Green Bay at Green Bay is never going to be an easier game than this week.
3. Momentum.  All of the low seeds that have made Superbowl runs have one thing in common: they played all out their final few games of the regular season and rode their hot streak into and through the playoffs. The Packers did it last year, and the Giants did it even through losing to New England to cap the end of the perfect regular season in one of the most epic games I've ever watched. 
4. MOMENTUM yes it deserves two mentions.  The Lions have been playing on fire since about the end of the third quarter at Okaland on all three facets of the game -- when they play like they did against San Diego, they can beat any team any time any place. They are not even close to a point where they can "rest up" and then just turn it on like a light switch.

Playoff Seeding:  I see a lot of people, even sports writers, screwing up the way the NFL playoff seeding works.  Lets assume it goes like this (you can sub the giants in for the cowboys whereever they appear)

1st Seed: Green Bay
2nd Seed: San Fran
3rd Seed: Saints
4th Seed: Cowboys
5th Seed: Lions
6th Seed: Falcons

Seeds one and two have a first round bye.  So on wildcard weekend we have:

Falcons at Saints and Lions at Cowboys. 

Looks pretty good - Lions have already beaten Dallas at Dallas, so that is preferrable to playing in the Superdome again against a red-hot Brees.  But remember, the highest remaining seed plays the 49ers while the lowest remaining seed plays the Green Bay Packers.  So assuming Saints and Lions win, the following weekend is:

Saints at 49ers and Lions at Packers. 

Yuck.  Unfortunately, getting the 6th seed doesn't help -- it guarantees that any win means playing the Packers in round 2.  As a matter of fact there is only on scenario in which the Lions would NOT have to play the Packers in round 2:   Detroit as the 5th seed needs Atlanta to win the upset over the 3rd Seed team assumed to be New Orleans.  Then, the Lions as 5th seed would play the 49ers and the Falcons as the 6th seed would play at Green Bay.  Of course, unless someone beats the Packers in round 2, then the road to the playoffs leads through Green Bay.  Since we are rooting for Atlanta to get the upset in wildcard weekend, we might as well root for them to upset the Packers as well -- that way, Detroit can host a home game against the Falcons for the NFC Championship.

Sound impossible?  The Detroit Lions are locked into a playoff berth with one game yet to playjust 3 seasons after losing every single game.  Anything is possible!  Maybe that apocalypse is going to occur in 2012 after all....

Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!!

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