The NFL is the greatest sport on the planet. But you know what would make it even better? If the Detroit Lions didn’t exist.
Hell, if the NFL proposed replacing Detroit with another team from Chicago or Minnesota, I’d be all for it as long as it meant never having to watch, hear or read about the Lions ever again.
In professional wrestling — the second greatest sport on the planet — marquee grudge matches sometimes include a stipulation that the loser must leave town. These loser leaves town matches are great. An already intense rivalry is heated up even more by the drama of one wrestler possibly seeing his career come to an end if he loses.
If I were Roger Goodell, I’d not only make Sunday’s Packers vs. Lions game for the NFC North title, I’d make it a loser leaves town match. This is Goodell’s opportunity to get rid of the Detroit Lions — an embarrassing skid mark on the drawers of the planet’s greatest sport — once and for all.
How great would it be if we never had to tolerate the Detroit Lions again after Sunday? No more stomps. No more groin kicks. No more Suh. No more pudgy Matt Stafford. No more Calvin Johnson single-handedly making the Lions relevant. No more face-palms when bringing up the Jim Schwartz era. No more guilt over Barry Sanders being stuck on the Lions his entire career. No more Detroit Lions. Ever again. Period. Exclamation mark!
The only thing we’ll preserve from the Lions mostly-forgettable history is this play, when Brett Favre hit Sterling Sharpe late in a 1994 playoff game to beat Detroit and earn his first playoff victory. Oh, I suppose we can keep this newspaper clipping as well. It details how the Packers held Sanders to minus-one rushing yard in a 1995 playoff victory at Lambeau Field.
Some of you might be saying, “Whoa! Hold on a minute, hot shot. What if the Lions beat Green Bay and the Packers have to leave town forever. It’s not worth the risk. Don’t do it!”
The Lions beat the Packers ?!?!?! In a loser leaves town grudge match?!?!?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! Never going to happen. Here are five reasons why:
Lacy and the line
Eddie Lacy and the Packers’ offensive line are playing at a whole new level compared to when the Lions beat the Packers in week three. During that awful game, the Lions sat with two deep safeties and shut down Lacy with only seven players in the box. It’ll be tough sledding for Lacy against the Lions admittedly great run defense, but I can’t see a repeat of week three happening again.
Back in week three, the Packers’ offense was mostly the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Snap it to Rodgers, he drops back, looks deep, runs around and tries to make a play. Since then, the Packers have mixed in their tight ends, gotten Davante Adams somewhat involved, lined up Randall Cobb in the backfield, run more “big” sets and added a few other wrinkles to create some more diversity to the offense. The Packers aren’t the same ‘ol offense and won’t be shut down by the same ‘ol cover-2 defense.
Death of the G-Force
It appears that the G-Force has finally, mercifully, been put out to pasture. Instead, the Packers have run a “Get Loud Lambeau” campaign all week. I think all “campaigns” to get fans to cheer at games are silly, but anything that gets rid of the hoky G-Force gets a pass in my book. The elimination of the G-Force does nothing but improve the Packers’ odds of winning.
Remember when Stafford threw for 300 yards just about every game? Those days appear to be over. Stafford has never been all that great despite his gaudy passing yard stats, but even his yards are down a bit this season. When a big throw needs to be made, do we really think Stafford will be able to make it at Lambeau?
The Packers’ defense has stonewalled the Bills and Buccaneers offense in recent weeks. Yes, it’s the Bills and Buccaneers, but is the Lions offense that much better? Detroit managed to score just 36 total points against the Bears and Vikings the last two weeks. The last time the Lions faced a really good defense — Arizona on Nov. 16 and New England on Nov. 23 — they managed six and nine points, respectively. I think the Packers defense falls somewhere between the likes of New England/Arizona and Chicago/Minnesota and is more than capable of holding down the Detroit offense, much like it did in the week three loss.
In loser leaves town matches, sometimes the bad guy wrestler cheats to win. He hides and object in his trunks, then whacks the good guy with it to score a cheap victory. Or sometimes his bad-guy buddies interfere when the ref isn’t looking to steal the match. If the Lions win later today, they’ll likely have to cheat to do so, bad guy wrestler style. Here’s how:
The way to slow down the Packers’ offense is to get on the nerves of their wide receivers. That means grabbing, poking, holding and bumping them downfield — straddling the line between illegal contact and good defense, then hoping the refs let it go. When teams go this route, and the refs oblige, the Packers seem incapable of overcoming it.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .