NOTE***

Working a lot of hours every week just to survive, I have little time to spare for my blogs. So I have had to make some decisions as to what I will keep up with and what I will relax on. With the lack of readers I have on this blog, it just does not make sense to continue to put time into writing the articles, keeping the schedule up to date and so on.

I have decided to put more time into finishing my books with the hopes that they will be a source of supplemental income

I apologize to those few who actually read my articles. I hope you will understand. I will continue to write articles now and then, but I will no longer keep up with every game.

My FANTASY BOOKS

The Demon Siege Trilogy

Authors Page
Twitter: @K_J_Ester

(Book-1) Hell in a Storm
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Barnes & Noble
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(Book-2) Descent of Darkness
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If you are not interested, I would still ask you to spread word about my book. Please leave a link to my Author's Page in your Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks!
Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
Keep track of which quarterbacks Suh has faced and which ones he has taken down.

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Lions Team Rankings

OFFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . .DEFENSE
. . . . . . .2011 . 2010 . . . . . .
. . . .2011 . 2010
Points . . . .(xx) .(xx) . Points . .
. . . (xx) .(xx)
Total Yards . (xx) .(xx) . Total Yards
. . .(xx). (xx)
Pass Yards. . (xx) .(xx) . Pass Yards .
. . (xx) .(xx)
Rush Yards . .(xx). (xx). .Rush Yards.
. . .(xx) .(xx)
QB Sacks . . .(xx) .(xx). .QB Sacks . .
. . (xx) .(xx)
Interceptions (xx) .(xx) . Interceptions
. .(xx) .(xx)
Fumbles Lost. (xx) .(xx) . Forced Fumbles
. (xx) .(xx)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fumble recovery
.(xx) .(xx)

9/30/11

Lions vs Cowboys Pregame

The Detroit Lions are 3-0 for the first time in 31 years as they go into Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys who are 2-1. The Lions are underdogs in Vegas odds, but this is one game I would bet money on. (If I had the extra cash to bet.)

So far this season the Lions defense has shown only one weakness. Runs to the outside by fast running backs! Against the Chiefs, Charles had a big play when he ran to the outside. Bowe gained decent yards on an end around. In Minnesota, Peterson was beating us to the outside and Percy Harvy had a huge end around as well. In total the Lions have given up 118 yards on 4 certain plays to the outside. That is slightly more than 1/3 of the total rushing yards the Lions have allowed on the season. Did I mention the Cowboys do not have the real speedy running back that can win games sprinting to the outside?

In fact, the Cowboys are not much of a running team at all. They are the 5th worse running team in the NFL (one worse than even the Lions), but are the 3rd best passing team (one better than Detroit). This is actually playing into the strengths of the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys cannot run but can pass. The Lions are the 4th best against the pass.

The Cowboys offense should have a hard time moving the ball against the Lions defense, and being a pass oriented team, this could be a field day for Ndamukong suh and the Wrecking Crew. On the other hand, the Cowboys are only middle of the pack in stopping the pass and the Lions have one of the most explosive passing games in the NFL.

One intangible to worry about.... The Lions have fallen behind early to all three of their opponents this season. They cannot continue to start slow and expect to continue to come away with wins.

Prediction:
DET - 27
DAL - 13

9/29/11

Success on the Pitch and the Felt

While the game of poker may not be seeing the explosive growth it saw in the late 1990s and early 2000s -- largely fueled by many new fans taking up the game at online sites after seeing it on television -- more and more players give it a try each year. The game has also become a fashionable and trendy pastime for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as well as with professional athletes and entertainers, with the likes of Tobey Maguire, Nelly, Shane Warne, and Paul Pierce all spotted at the poker tables in big tournaments over the last few years.

Most stars play a few tournaments here and there and treat it more as a publicity stunt but others have taken the game very seriously, to the extent that poker has become a full-time profession for some athletes once their playing days are done. Former footballers have especially fared well at the poker tables, with the same competitive drive (and likely countless hours on team planes, buses, and at hotels spent playing cards) serving them just as well at the poker table as it did during the days on the pitch.

You need look no farther than a trio of former football players to see the above in action, with Teddy Sheringham, Tony Cascarino, and Jan Vang Sørensen all making their names name in the poker world. Major titles have eluded Sheringham and Cascarino so far but they’ve each have plenty of big paydays on the poker tournament circuit. Sheringham won about $120,000 in a European Poker Tour event in August 2010 while Cascarino scored a massive payday of nearly $300,000 when he won a Grosvenor UK Poker Tour tournament in November 2009.

The biggesr success of former footballers, though, is Jan Vang Sørensen, who has won more than $2 million overall in his poker career at tournaments. He also has two coveted World Series of Poker bracelets to his credit from winning WSOP events in 2002 and 2005 and won just over $800,000 in 2008 when he won the Masters Classics of Poker event in Amsterdam.

9/25/11

Lions 26 - Vikings 23

For the first time in 31 years, the Detroit Lions have started a season 3-0 and they did it by filling their fans with anguish, anxiety and finally joy.

At half time the Lions were losing 20-0 in the dome where they haven't won in about three eternities. It might have been four, I cannot recall to be sure. I don't think Old man Ford remembers.

The Vikings were absolutely dominating the Lions from the first kick-off. Stafford had no time to let plays develop and Best had no room to run. The Lions offensive line came in lethargic and became almost wimpish in their play. Quite frankly, it was plain ugly.

Then something miraculous happened. I don't know what that miracle was, but it gave the Lions life. It wasn't raining, so it couldn't have been some old man with an umbrella in the stands. It was just that the Lions finally started moving the ball. In the first half, the Lions offense mustard something like 40 total yards. In the second half they had over 300.

The Lions turned a 20-0 deficit at half time to a 23-20 lead in the 4th quarter. With just over a minute left in the game, the Vikings tied it up.

So the Lions had 1:11 on the clock and all three of their timeouts. All they needed to do was move the ball close enough for a Jason Hanson field goal, and he had already hit one from 50 out earlier in the game. No problem right? Wrong!

On 1st and 10 at their own 20 yard line, with the Minnesota crowds jarring the stadium, Backus flinched for a false start. On 1st and 15, Backus flinched again. Finally on 1st and 20, Backus did not flinch and the ball was snapped. Jared Allen blew past Backus like he was a statue and dropped Stafford hard at the 3 yard line. It wasn't like Stafford wasn't used to this by now. It was after all the fifth time he was sacked. After two fruitless run plays the Lions punted, giving the Vikings one more chance to win the game.

The Lions defense held again and forced overtime and it was then that the most exciting play of the game happened. After a 2 yard run by Best and a 17 yard pass to Titus Young, the Lions had the ball at their own 46 yard line. It was on 2nd and 10 and a Viking's Defensive Linemen busted through, falling over the offensive linemen he pancaked. Stafford was immediately back-peddling to avoid the rush and in his backwards motion he let the ball fly down the left sideline.

Calvin Johnson ran hard along the sideline, covered well, then the corner back stumbled and fell and Calvin, while stumbling over the fallen corner back, stretched out his arms and caught the ball as it fell over his right shoulder. It was a 40 yard reception and put the Detroit Lions well within Jason Hanson's range. A 32 yard field goal later, the Lions had made one of the greatest comebacks I remember, broke their win-less streak in the Mall of America Football Stadium and started the season 3-0.

It was a game lined with emotions and ended with the best of them. Joy! Happy Lions Day Everyone!

Side note:
There will be the usual Backus haters who will talk about how he almost lost the game for the Lions. That the Lions need to get rid of him. The fact is however, that Jared Allen is one of the best defensive ends in the game and was playing with a desire to control the game. Once it was evident that Allen was on his game, the Lions should have had someone over on that side to help out. They left Backus one on one with him and paid the price. If Backus continues to give up sacks in weeks to come, then it is time to replace him. One bad game against the best in the NFL? Let it slide. By the way, the first sack Backus gave up was more on Pettigrew than on Backus. Pettigrew was to Backus's left and Allen was lined up outside of him. Pettigrew never even made a move to stop Allen, nor did he move to run out for a pass. He simply stood there lost and Backus had to move around him to try to reach Allen. I would say Backus deserves credit for even getting a piece of Allen under the circumstances.

9/23/11

A New Season

The Winter has been harsh. A time when life almost seems to come to a halt. A time when life hardly exists. A time of darkness, when blankets of gray clouds cover the barren land in which we live.

The Winter has been long. What light we have, it shines dimly for such a short time. Our world is cold, so cold. Warmth, nothing more than a mere memory that is slowly fading. Death, an unwanted acquaintance we learn to live with.

It has been a long, cold and harsh Winter.

Right now you are probably thinking I might be crazy. It is mid-September, and we are still on the back porch of Summer. What can I mean with all of this talk about how long and cold the Winter has been? But I do not talk of the physical world we see around us. I speak of the world of the Lions fan.

It has been so long since we have felt alive. We have loved the Lions through the absolute worst Winter imaginable. Through a time when life seemed to be non-existent and at times there just didn't seem to be any hope of it ending.

I have continued to put on my Lions hat, a hat I had made for me and is a one of a kind. I have put that hat on my head every day for years now. When the Lions did not win a single game, I wore that hat. Every Winter in the physical world, I wore my Lions coat. I dealt with the looks, the teasing, and the very rare compliment, because I refused to stop believing. Some day the Detroit Lions would be good again. Some day my Lions would vindicate my refusal to give in. Never once have I used the cliche..."The Same Old Lions"! Never once have I said... "They have always been bad and they always will be bad". I have endured and I have believed. Someday we would see the long and harsh Winter come to an end.

Before the season began, I knew the Winter had come to an end. With two dominating wins in a row, I am now seeing the world come back to life. Winter is over and Spring has come.

Like a breath of fresh air, the warmer weather has come. The sun's rays caress my cheeks and warm my skin. The grass turns green and the trees fill in again. You open up the windows and let the fresh air and cool breeze flow in to take away the stale, lifeless air you have been breathing all Winter.

There is a joy we feel when Winter is gone and the days are warm. There are more smiles and a lightness to our feet. It is called life. For death has been endured and sent on its way and life is embraced.

That is how I feel right now as a Lions fan. I have endured the worst Winter in memory. A Winter I knew would have to end some day but wondered if I would still be alive when it did. As the Lions play, and continue to win, I cannot help but to smile and embrace the new feeling of life. I breathe in the sweet taste of fresh air that fills me with excitement for the coming weeks.

I will go to work, to the stores and the mall. I will see other fans around me. I will see so many more fans than I have ever seen before. I will know many of them did not believe as I did. Many are only fans while the weather is fair. A few have been like myself and have endured, and believed.

To those who have endured, I say thank-you. You are my truest of brethren. You are the cornerstones of faith. You can now hold your heads high and be proud, for you have faced the worst and stayed strong.

To those who are new fans or simply returning home, I say welcome. Put a smile on your faces and cheer with us. Your joy will not be quite so precious, and your desserts not so sweet, but you will still be able to enjoy the fresh air of Spring. I am sad that you will not know just how sweet the fresh air tastes, as you have not endured the thick still air we have breathed for so long, but nonetheless, you will enjoy it anyway. I say welcome. I hope you will grow strong and endure the next Winter.

For now? Let us all enjoy the clean air together. Let us love and laugh together in the warmth of the sun. For the Detroit Lions are at last, once again, good!

9/19/11

2011 Detroit Lions - I'm Not Afraid To Say It

"The Lions are a much improved team. A good team, but I am not ready to say they are Superbowl contenders. Maybe Next year!"

How many times have you heard someone say that this year already? I have lost track. I have heard it on the radio, by callers as well as the hosts. I have heard it said at work. I have heard it said on television. Some may believe it, but most who do are afraid to say it because it is such a high praise for a team that has not had a winning season since some time before Moses' hair turned white. So please, let me be one of the few who are not afraid to say it....

"The 2011 Detroit Lions are good enough to win the Superbowl!"

Now is when you try to say I am crazy right? That I am drinking too much cool-aid. I have to lay off the corn bread or stop eating paint. Today at work, when I stated the Lions are a top-5 team, the first reply was... "In the division?" When I said in the NFL, another guy turned around with his eyes wide and said... "You are on crack!" No, I am on a dose of reality and I am not afraid to say it.

Maybe you think I am living in a fantasy world. Well come walk with me through the enchanted forest, deep in the midst of LaLa Land and let me show you what I see.

QUARTERBACK
In the 2011 season, what quarterbacks would you rather have on the team than Stafford? Peyton Manning? Not a chance, since he is out for the year. Who is left? Rodgers, Brees, and Brady. Those are the only QB's that one can make a substantial argument about being better than Stafford. Schaub might fall in there as well, but it would not be as strong of an argument.

RUNNING BACK
I can make a list of around 11 running backs who are better than Best at this time. Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, McCoy, Turner, Stephen Jackson, Ray Rice, Mendenhall, Gore and McFadden. Charles is now eliminated as he is out for the season with an ACL tear. I also believe that by the seasons end, Best will be above 4 or 5 of these guys as well.

RECEIVERS
Look at the Receivers. Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young. How many teams have a better set of WRs than the Lions? I can see the Saints being argued. They may be the only strong argument there is. Teams like the Packers, Patriots, and Cardinals can be mentioned but I would not put their three receivers above those of the Lions.

TIGHT ENDS
The Lions Tight End tandem is easily one of the best in the NFL. Ask someone to find better TE's than Pettigrew and Scheffler on one team, and they will be hard pressed. The best hope would be the Patriots with Hernandez and Gronkowski.

OFFENSIVE LINE
The Lions O-line has been a topic of debate every year. The simple fact is however, only two or three teams protected their quarterbacks better than the Lions did in 2010. When looking at how many sacks were allowed compared to how many passes were attempted, the Lions were in the top 3 or 4 in the NFL.

DEFENSIVE LINE
With Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Sammie Lee Hill, and Rookie Nick Fairley manning the interior and the likes of Vanden Bosch, Avril, Brown and Lawrence Jackson patrolling the outside, there simply is no better defensive line in the NFL.

LINEBACKERS
The Lions went out and added Tullock and Durant to team up with Levy. In doing so, the Lions have created a very strong crew of starting linebackers. Are they the best in the NFL? Likely not, but you would be hard pressed to find ten teams with better.

CORNER BACKS
Adding Eric Wright to play opposite of Chris Houston was a good move. There were questions about him but so far they are playing very strong. I would not go so far as say the Lions CBs are top-10 in the NFL, but I would list them in the top half of the NFL.

SAFETIES
Detroit already had Louis Delmas playing strong for his first two seasons. Last year they added a cornerback, Amari Spievey and turned him into a Safety. He was not good in 2010, it is that plain. However, 2011 is a different year and Spievey has shown he can be a very good safety. There are likely a few teams with a better tandem manning the back of their defenses, but I would list the Lions safeties as top 5 in the NFL.

NOW I ASK YOU.... How many teams can you run down this list and say they rank as high as the Lions do across the board? Patriots? Not quite. Great players but they have an average O-line, average running backs, and their defense is decent but not great. How about the Packers? They have an awesome offense but their defense is lacking. They are bottom in the NFL right now against the pass. They just let a rookie quarterback throw for over 400 yards against them!

In 2010 the Lions played close games against top teams without their starting QB, their RB hurting and a horrible linebacker crew. In 2011, there is not a team that stacks up as strong as the Lions do across the board.

So no, I am not afraid to say it. The Detroit Lions are good enough to win the Superbowl. Does that mean I am predicting them to win it? Nope! Not because I am afraid to do so, but simply because I wont predict a Superbowl winner until the play-offs begin. There are too many things that can happen to any team and in the NFL, 16 games is still a long season and a lot of time for things to happen. But at this point of time, I believe the Lions have as good of a chance as ANY team in the NFL of doing it. I believe that the Lions are the team to beat.

Yes I know the Lions haven't won enough yet. Some believe the Lions need to prove they can win a lot first before they can be called a good team. I believe that you have to be good first in order to win those games. Bad teams don't win games to become good. Good teams win games to be called good. The Lions are good and they will win a lot of games this year.

9/18/11

Lions 48 - Chiefs 3

Yes you read that title right. The Detroit Lions trounced the Kansas City Chiefs 48-3 in their second straight victory of the 2011 NFL season.

Early on, it looked like the Chiefs might make it a good game as they seemed to be running the ball well and the Lions were having some early three and outs. Then the Chiefs running back, Jamaal Charles left the game with a leg injury. Then Matthew Stafford and company got their feet under them again and started moving the ball. When the smoke cleared and the battle was over, it was clear. There was never truly a battle. It was a massacre!

Stafford completed 59% of his 39 pass attempts for 294 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 pick. Calvin Johnson was practically invisible as he only caught 3 passes for 29 yards. Although two of those catches did happen to be in the end-zone. Jahvid Best only had 57 yards on 16 carries, but he also had a touchdown and padded his numbers with 66 receiving yards and another TD.

Nate Burleson seemed to be the break out receiver today as he was hit for 7 catches and 93 yards, but he did not score a touchdown.

Lions fans will be glad to know that rookie receiver, Titus Young, finally broke out with 5 catches and 89 yards and just barely missed out on scoring his first touchdown as a pro.

Once again the Defense looked especially strong as they held the Chiefs to only three points for the game. Cassel was held to only 133 yards but the Chiefs had 151 yards rushing on the day. Something for the Lions defense to be concerned with.

Suh Watch:
With one second left on the clock in the first half, Cassel dropped back in hopes of throwing a Hail-Mary. When he was flushed around, he met up with Ndamukong Suh who added him to his sack list.

9/15/11

Lions vs Chiefs Pregame - Wk2

The Lions opened the 2011 season with a victory on the road in Tampa Bay. It was the perfect test to start the season. Now the Lions come home to Detroit to face the Kansas City Chiefs. In its own way, this is just as big of a test for the Lions, but this week is not about if they can win or not, but just how complete of a win it will be.

The simple fact is, the Kansas City Chiefs are not a good football team. Yes I know all about them winning ten games and going to the play-offs in 2010. Believe me, that 10-6 record of theirs last year was one of the most deceiving records in modern day sports.

In 2010, the Chiefs played a total of 3 games against opponents with winning records. Of those three games, they only won one of those and that was at the expense of the Chargers in the first week of the season. In the first week, it is possible for any team to beat any team because many teams need to adjust to the speed of the regular season and often are still hashing out problems. The next time the Chiefs faced the Chargers, San Diego took it to them 31-0. Literally shut them out! In the three games against opponents with winning records, the Chiefs were out scored 64 - 30.

This season the Kansas City Chiefs do not come to Detroit as an improved NFL team. In fact they have already lost Safety Eric Berry and TE, Tony Moeaki. Both very good players. The loss of Berry will hurt them the most as it is a great blow to their pass defense and plays right into the Lions strong suit.

Including the last four games of 2010, the Detroit Lions are now on a 5 game winning streak. They have taken steps forward to become one of the better teams in the NFL. There are still plenty who do not rank the Lions so high, but they can give no concrete evidence that they are not one of the better teams.

Stafford is good enough to be one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL if he stays healthy. The Lions receivers are as good as any teams out there. They have the best Tight Ends in the NFL. The best defensive line hands down. The Lions now have a top ten and possibly top 5 crew of linebackers. The way Amari Spievey is playing alongside Delmas, they may be the best Safety tandem. Their offensive line may be questionable when it comes to run blocking, but only three teams protected their quarterbacks better in 2010. The only two positions where the Lions are possibly lacking is at corner back and running back. I believe with the defense around them, the CBs will have a fine year and Jahvid Best could still prove himself as one of the better RBs in the game. I would challenge you to find me 5 other teams in the NFL who can rank so high in so many positions.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Lions are head and shoulders above the Chiefs at this time. It is not a question on if the Lions can win this week, but simply how bad they beat the Chiefs. If the Detroit Lions do not win by 10 points or more, I will not be satisfied with them.

The Detroit Lions are not a slouch team where the fans should just be glad for a victory anymore. They are simply too good for that now. I don't hope for a win, I expect a win! Against a bad team that is hurting, I expect the Lions to hand out a beating and put them away early. I do not mean the Lions can take them lightly, but I am saying the Lions better play good enough to give the Chiefs a beating. Winning by a field goal late in the game would be nearly a failure.

9/11/11

Lions 27 - Bucs 20

The Detroit Lions opened up the 2011 season on a good note by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-20... and it really wasn't as close as the score may suggest.

The Lions started off the game with what I can only say must have been a first game adrenalin overflow. Quarterback, Matthew Stafford, was not looking accurate. Receivers dropped passes. There were penalties. After scoring the first field goal, it all looked to be falling apart. The ensuing kick-off was returned by Stroughter for 78 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the Lions 21 yard line. The Lions defense then shut the Bucs offense down with a 3 and out and the Bucs kicked a field goal to tie it up. Three plays later, Talib, the Bucs corner back, intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass and ran it 28 yards for a touchdown. As quick as that the Lions were down 10-3.

The Lions were not at their best this opening Sunday. It didn't matter! Even with their mistakes, the Detroit Lions simply dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from start to finish. The Bucs only points coming from a huge kick return, a Stafford pick, and a long touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when the Lions were in prevent mode.

There were those who believed the Bucs would beat the Lions because Detroit would not be able to handle LeGarrette Blount's hard running style. Blount ended the game with only 15 of the Bucs 56 total rushing yards.

Some believed that Freeman would be too hard to stop with Mike Williams to throw to. Josh Freeman ended up with 257 yards (163 of those yards came in the 4th quarter), and Mike Williams only had 50 yards receiving and a touchdown.

On the other hand....

Matthew Stafford ended up with 305 yards, 3 TD's and 1 pick. He completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts (72%), with a 118.9 QB Rating.

Calvin Johnson had 6 catches for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Best was not spectacular, but had a decent game none the less. 72 yards on 21 carries (3.4 ypc), and had 4 receptions for 42 yards. 114 all purpose yards.

My perception:
There are fans who are afraid of being hurt again who say the Lions need to prove to them they are going to be a better team. Before the game, many said the Bucs would win because they would want revenge, had a better team that won 10 games last year and would be used to the 90+ degree temperatures.

The Lions, not only beat the Bucs, but simply controlled the game for three quarters before giving up yardage in the dreaded prevent mode. Last year's victory over the 10 win Bucs was not a fluke. By beating them a second game in a row (both in Tampa Bay), the Lions have proven they are the better team. I have been saying the Lions would win 10+ games this year and I see this victory as the first step to that mark and one more bit of proof they are now a good team in the NFL.

Lions fans can start the season off enjoying the victory and looking forward to the next.

9/9/11

Lions vs Bucs Pregame

The Detroit Lions open their 2011 NFL season with a chance to show the world just how good they have become and a win in Tampa Bay is the perfect way to do it.

Think of what a victory over the Bucs would say about the Lions....

Last year the Bucs were one of the few teams to ever have 10 wins and not make the play-offs. There is no doubt that they are a good team and they are healthier this year than they were when the teams met last year. To beat a legitimate 10 win team in the first week would say a lot about an up and coming Lions team.

Last year the Lions beat the Bucs with their 3rd string quarterback, Drew Stanton in the game. Some believe it was a fluke win. Beating them this Sunday would prove it was more than a fluke. It was the better team winning.

A victory this Sunday would give the Lions a road win right off the bat and take away doubts that this team has turned the corner.

Why the Lions might lose:
LeGarrette Blount - He is a big, strong, powerful runner who can make players miss and break to the outside for long gains.

Josh Freeman to Mike Williams - The duo put up a lot of yards last year and are not to be taken lightly

Aqib Talib - A very good corner back in the NFL and expected to pay a lot of attention to Calvin Johnson.

The Records - The Bucs were 10-6 last year and the Lions were 6-10.

Reasons the Lions will win:
Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson - Stafford has the talent to be one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL. Calvin is already arguably the best receiver.

Stafford to Burleson - If Calvin is double or triple covered, Stafford will have no problem turning to Nate Burleson, who can be a force all on his own.

Stafford to Pettigrew - Pettigrew has dropped his share of easy catches. He has caught some circus grabs as well. He has gotten better every year and is expected to be a top-5 TE this year.

Stafford to Best - If there is not much room to run, Best will be glad to get his yards through the air.

A man named Suh - Ndamukong Suh and the Wrecking Crew want to show last year was no joke. They will come out gunning for Freeman. Freeman is one of the few QBs who escaped Suh's clutches last year. He wont get away clean a second time in a row.

Off season Improvements - Sure the Bucs got healthier. They have Talib and McCoy this year. The Lions have Stafford back and Best healthy. The Lions have also added two new (very talented) linebackers to shore up their defense and Amari Spievey is looking leaps and bounds better than last year.


Overall:
If you look at last year, the Lions beat the Bucs with their 3rd string QB and their star RB hampered with a turf toe injury on both feet. This year they are healthy and their defense is even better, so their is no reason they shouldn't be able to beat the Bucs again.

If you match up the two teams position by position, the only two positions the Bucs are better are running back and cornerbacks. The Lions have more talent as QB, WR, TE, D-line, LB and Safety.

The Lions are a much improved team this year. They have the ability to be one of the better teams in the NFL. Only the past hurts causes many fans afraid to put their faith in the team. Let me fill you in on a little secret..... NFL teams don't win on faith. They win on scheme, talent, and execution. The 2011 Detroit Lions have all three of those now.

Lions win this one 30 - 17

9/4/11

Matthew Stafford Should Break Out For Detroit Lions

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford has had his share of injuries. In fact, he has played in only 13 games and has missed 19 others due to those injuries. So there is good reasons for fans to be wary of him this year. Take some advice, this is the year to own him in fantasy football.

For the most part, his injuries have not been the type to say he is injury prone. His bones do not break easily and he does not tear ligaments or have concussions. His problem was that he dislocated his shoulder.

The problem with that injury is that once you dislocate your shoulder, it is always much easier to dislocate it again in the future. Stafford proved that as he dislocated his throwing shoulder a second time only two games after coming back. The common belief is that he was brought back too early. Not true! He was ready to come back when he did. It would not have mattered if he sat out another two seasons before coming back, he still could have dislocated it again on the first hit. Or the first time you fall on it wrong.

The good thing is there is a fix for that problem. It is called surgery. The doctor needs to go into the shoulder and clean things up. Tighten things up so the ligaments will not stretch out so much in the future. Matthew Stafford had this surgery. In the preseason game against the Patriots, Stafford took some good clean hard shots. One of them slammed him to the turf on that problematic shoulder. He got up and showed no ill signs.

I believe the dislocated shoulder is now behind him. Sam Bradford of the Rams had a similar surgery the year before he was drafted and he lasted all 16 games in his rookie season. I see no reason to believe that Stafford will not do the same. So the question now becomes more about how good he will be.

After all, after two seasons, Stafford already has less game experience than Bradford who was a rookie last year. So essentially, Stafford is still in his rookie season experience-wise.

First let us take a look at this years preseason. I know some fans do not like to look at preseason statistics. It is flawed, I know. He wont face the same teams. He hasn't faced defenses at full regular season game speed. Trust me, the points I am using the stats for are reasonable in this case.

Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 33 passes. That is almost 76% of his passes. What this shows is that the biggest question about him when he was drafted has been answered. He is now as accurate as any quarterback out there. Preseason or not, completing 75% of your passes is nothing less than superb.

They may have been safe passes. Screens, dumps and short slants. Which lends us to the next stat.

In the preseason, Stafford completed 8 passes for 20+ yards. He tied two others for the most 20+ yard passes and he had less attempts than they did and a higher completion% than they did. What this shows is that he was not playing it safe, but he was airing it out. Throwing the ball down field. Think about that. Almost one third of his completions were for 20 yards or more.

Another stat...

Stafford threw 5 touchdowns and did not throw even one pick. This shows he is reading the defenses very well and not being fooled.

Look at the entire picture. Matthew Stafford should finally stay healthy after having surgery to tighten everything up. He is far more accurate, willing to air it out, and does not make stupid mistakes. He has an offensive line in front of him that was the third best in the NFL for pass protection last year and one of the best group of receivers in the game. With Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Jahvid Best coming out of the backfield, defenses will be very hard pressed to keep everyone covered.

Then there is the run blocking of the offensive line... or the lack there of. This makes the Detroit Lions a pass first team. The coaches will be forced to lean on the pass in hopes of it opening up the running game.

The quality of Stafford's play, mixed with his vast arsenal of play-making receivers and the coaches needing to lean on the pass, makes Matthew Stafford a very strong candidate for a huge break out season. If you are playing fantasy football, you can get him late (unless you are in a league with other Lions fans), and he could possibly be the steal of the year.

The best point of all? He will not have Ndamukong Suh coming after him.

9/1/11

Pansy Football by the NFL is Rubbing Off on Commentators and Fans

Every time I read an article about whether Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions superstar defensive tackle, is a dirty player or not, my stomach turns over. Suh shoves a quarterback down from behind and he is not only penalized but fined. Suh tackles a player by his dreadlocks (which is legal), he gets a 15 yard flag. Suh wraps his arms around a quarterback and takes him to the ground and he is fined $20,000! Suh shoves a player away from a teammate when that player is yanking his teammate's face mask? Commentators say he should be fined.

My God, when did the NFL start expecting their players to wear skirts!

What makes me even more sad, is that even some of the fans are now getting in line with the pansy ways!

After the articles on this subject, I often read what fans have to say in the comments. It literally shocks me how often they will agree that Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player. Some will say Suh is either stupid or selfish because he continues to play hard football when he has a target on his back.

If anyone thinks his hit on Dalton was dirty, please, go look at the video closely and then tell me just how it was dirty. If you really look at the video, you find that Suh is not the one who knocked the quarterback's helmet off. It was actually Cliff Avril's hand that comes in and knocks it off. You will find that Suh never even picked Dalton up off of his feet. He only twisted him down to the ground, with his arms wrapped around him. If you dont like that Suh tackled him after he threw the ball? Can you say for sure that Suh could see him throw the ball? I cant! I see the ball come away just as Suh is landing with his arms around the quarterback. He has every reason to still tackle him if he believes he has the ball.

The fact is, Suh is not even close to being a dirty player. He is a hard player. In fact, only once has Suh been fined or penalized on a play where I can understand why it was believed to be dirty. That was his first sack in his rookie pre-season on Jake Delhomme. Other than that one overly aggressive play, there has not been even one play by Ndamukong Suh that can honestly be said to be dirty if you look at the replay closely. I challenge anyone to show me another play that was actually dirty. And in all honesty, I could even argue that the Jake Delhomme was nowhere near as dirty as it is made out to be.

Suh is nothing more than a great player who plays hard every snap. Ndamukong Suh is the epitome of what an NFL player should be and instead of trying to make him wear a skirt, the NFL should be lifting him up. Use him to draw fans to the sport rather than cut him off and push fans a way. It is simply ridiculous that the NFL should expect Suh to not play hard and then not expect the same from all the other players.