The Watchtower: Lions vs. Jets

>> 11.04.2010

CN Tower and Jet

The Jets are coming off of an embarrassing loss at home.  The Lions are coming off of an ugly victory at home.  The Jets are a national media darling, a preseason Super Bowl contender coming off an improbable run to the AFC Championship.  The Lions are a national media whipping boy; if they’re ever mentioned, it’s as a punchline.  The 5-2 Jets are a game behind the Patriots in the AFC East, and need a win to keep pace.  The 2-5 Lions are effectively three games behind the Packers and Bears, likelyplaying for nothing more than pride.

Brian Schottenheimer vs. Gunther Cunningham

Gil Gun Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
SDC KCC 3rd 27.9 7.46 4.16 29th 27.2 8.05 4.62 34 10.22 0 4.10 1-0 1-7
SDC KCC 3rd 27.9 7.46 4.16 29th 27.2 8.05 4.62 24 7.48 1 4.76 4-1 2-17
SDC KCC 5th 26.1 6.65 4.46 16th 20.3 6.58 4.10 28 8.07 1 3.77 2-1 0-0
SDC KCC 5th 26.1 6.65 4.46 16th 20.3 6.58 4.10 7 4.88 1 4.00 1-1 1-8
NYJ DET 12th 22.7 5.95 4.84 23rd 22.4 7.13 4.79            

In prior Watchtowers, I’ve struggled sometimes to distinguish between a coordinator and their mentor.  Bears DC Rod Marinelli is a slavish disciple of Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2; schematically, Marinelli and Kiffin are interchangeable.  I can then fairly translate Scott Linehan’s success against one to his success against the other.  On the other end of the spectrum, Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians learned under everyone from Ken Whisenhunt to Butch Davis to Bear Bryant (!).  With Brian Schottenheimer, there’s an obvious mentor: his father and longtime boss, Marty.  However, the obvious avatar is a false one.

Brian Schottenheimer didn't learn offense by studying at his father’s knee; didn’t kneel before the altar of the run-first offense they call Martyball.  No, Brian Schottenheimer learned offense by playing for Steve Spurrier.  According to an excellent piece by Thomas George at, Schottenheimer displayed an astonishing level of self-awareness for a college kid.  After playing quarterback at Kansas for a year, he realized he’d never play in the pros—so he transferred to Florida, with the intention of becoming a three-time All-American clipboard holder.

Schottenheimer then worked as an assistant under Dick Vermeil in St. Louis, Marty at Kansas City, Paul Pasqualoni at Syracuse, and Paul Hackett at USC.  Finally, he got his first full-fledged quarterbacks coach gig, as part of Marty’s Redskins staff.  Unfortunately, it lasted only one year—when Marty was then broomed to make way for . . . Steve Spurrier.  If that’s not ironic enough for you, that second stop—“Marty at Kansas City?”  Yeah, guess who was standing on the sidelines with him, running the defense?  None other than Gunther Cunningham.  I’m sure these men know each other very well, personally and professionally.

Schotty the Younger followed his father to San Diego, where for four seasons he served as quarterbacks coach.  He mentored both Drew Brees and Philip Rivers there, earning him a reputation as a QB groomer.  For 2006, new Jets coach Eric Mangini hired Brian to his first offensive coordinatorship; it’s here where I’d prefer start Brian’s track record as a schemer and playcaller.

Unfortunately, Gunther Cunningham hasn’t faced Brian Schottenheimer since then.  I thought about using data from Spurrier’s time in the NFL, but when I looked at the schemes and philosophies of the Jets offense and Spurrier’s, I realized that the end result is closer to Martyball than Fun n’ Gun—the Jets have almost perfect 50/50 run-pass balance, and they’re much better at running than passing.  So, with caveats in place, we go to work:

In 2004, the Chargers had a juggernaut of an offense.  With Drew Brees having his breakout year (3,159 yards, 27 TDs, 7 INTs), and a 25-year-old LaDanian Tomlinson rolling everybody, San Diego was the 3rd-most potent offense in the NFL (27.9 ppg).  Gunther’s Kansas City Chiefs (under Dick Vermeil, another Brian S. mentor) were a miserable 29th, allowing 27.2 points per game.  It went about as you’d expect, with San Diego scoring 34 points, averaging 10.22 yards per attempt, and gaining 4.10 yards per carry.

But Gunther had some tricks up his sleeve for his old boss in the second meeting.  This time, he essentially surrendered the run (4.78 YpC), and attacked the pass, forcing 2 sacks, 4 fumbles, and an interception, lowering YpA to 7.48, and holding the San Diego offense to just 24 points.  It’s not often that the 3rd-ranked offense faces the 29th-ranked defense and scores less than its average for the year . . .

In 2005, the gap between the two units was much smaller.  The Chargers were the 5th-best offense, scoring 26.1 PpG.  The Chiefs’ D was vastly improved: ranked 16th, allowing 20.3 PpG—a full touchdown per game less than the year before.  The results of the first matchup, however, were more like the the first meeting in 2004: 28 points for the Chargers.  They gained 341 yards through the air at a 8.07 YpA clip—though Tomlinson’s 17-for-69 effort dragged the Chargers down to a meager 3.77 team YpC.  Again, these results exactly meet expectations when the 5th-ranked offense faces the 16th-ranked defense: the O does a little bit better than usual.

In the second matchup, however, Cuther returned to his prior strategy: attack the pass.  Brees completed just 18-of-33 passes (54.5%), for a meager 161 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.  He was sacked once (by Jared Allen), and receiver Eric Parker lost a fumble.  Holding the passing attack to just 4.88 YpA, the vaunted Chargers’ offense scored only seven points.

From this data, the inescapable conclusion is that regardless of talent level, Marty Schottenheimer’s run-heavy offenses meet expectations against Gunther Cunningham’s defense—when the passing game is exceptionally effective.  Marty Schottenheimer offenses perform profoundly below expectations against Gunther Cunningham defenses when the passing game is ineffective.

In 2010, Brian Schottenheimer’s Jets offense is ranked 12th in the NFL, scoring 22.7 points per game.  The Lions’ defense is ranked 23rd, allowing 22.4 PpG.  The Jets have only mustered 5.95 YpA—but their running game, featuring LaDanian Tomlinson (!), is bowling people over to the tune of 4.84 YpC.  Yes, on the average.  Yes, for the whole season.  Meanwhile, the Lions are allowing 4.79 YpC—doubtlessly the Jets will be able to run.  They may be able to pass, too, considering the Lions 7.13 allowed YpA.

If we assume that the 2004-2005 Chargers provide a representative sample of Brian Schottenheimer’s schematic and playcalling tendencies, the Jets’s offense will either meet—or vastly underperform—expectations against Gunther Cunningham’s aggressive 4-3 defense, depending on which phase of the offense the Lions attack.  Given the recent success of the Lions’ pass rush and secondary, I expect the Lions to attack the pass—and therefore, I project the Jets to score 10-13 points.  Unfortunately, because we’re working off of a possibly fallacious assumption—the 2004-2005 Chargers’s offense being interchangeable with the 2010 Jets—I have very low confidence in this projection.  If there were no systemic advantage or disavantage, the expectation for the Jets’ offense against the Lions’ defense would be 24-27 points.

Mitigating/Augmenting Influences:

Obviously, there’s a lot of ifs, ands, and buts in the above paragraph—more than I usually allow myself.  But seeing what the Packers did to the Jets’ offense on Sunday, and knowing the way the Lions’ defensive line is playing, and knowing what Gunther can do against offenses he knows well, I have to believe that they go after Sanchez hard.  The success he had against Marty and Brian’s Chargers offenses—which were much better than this Jets unit—leads me to believe that’s the correct ballpark for the Jets’ offensive production.  Then again, if Tomlinson and/or Greene can really get rolling, perhaps the Lions’ defense can’t get off the field on third down, and the baseline expectations will be what goes down.  I really don’t see anything in between; either I’m right and the Jets are held to less than two TDs, or I’m wrong and the Jets score 24 or more.

Scott Linehan vs. Rex Ryan

Lin Few Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
STL BAL 28th 16.4 5.63 3.78 22nd 24.0 7.26 2.84 3 5.80 5 2.48 1-1 4-11
DET NYJ 6th 25.2 5.95 3.63 2nd 15.7 6.17 3.43            

There’s only one data point for this matchup, and it’s profoundly depressing.  Linehan faced off against Rex Ryan in 2007—without Steven Jackson.  Linehan’s 28th-ranked offense was scraping together 16.4 PpG; even Ryan’s worse-than-usual 2007 unit was way, way more than it could handle.  Despite being ranked only 22nd itself, and allowing a rather healthy 24.0 PpG, the Ravens’ unit stomped the Rams into the ground.  They held a committee of Travis Minor, Brian Leonard, and Antonio Pittman to just 2.48 YpC.  They allowed only 5.48 YpA, sacked Gus Frerotte four times and intercepted him five times.

Given the paucity of data, I'm loathe to conclude anything, but that’s just too strong of an effect.  There’s no way the 22nd-ranked defense should dominate the 28th-ranked defense like that, unless there’s a schematic advantage.  What I’m saying here is, the Rams were really, really, really bad—but not that bad.  Therefore, I’m going to conclude that given lesser talent, Scott Linehan’s balanced offense is disproportionately disrupted by Rex Ryan’s hyperaggressive 3-4 defense.   Sacks and interceptions profoundly depress scoring output.  The effect is unknown with greater or equal talent.

The 2010 Lions are the 6th-ranked offense in the NFL, averaging a robust 25.2 points per game.  Amazingly, they’re doing it while averaging a mediocre 5.95 YpA, and less-than-mediocre 3.63 YpC.  Meanwhile, the Jets are the #2 defense in the NFL, allowing just 15.7 points per game, 6.17 YpA, and 3.43 YpC.  With no systemic advantage or disadvantage, expectations for the Lions’ offense versus the Jets’ defense would be set at 17-21 points.  However, if we apply this perceived disadvantage when facing Rex Ryan defenses, I project the Lions will score 15-17 points.  I have low-to-medium confidence in this projection.

Mitigating/Augmenting Influences:

Thanks to just the one data point, this is a pretty shaky conclusion.  Further, it’s tough to tell just how bad the 2007 Rams were—that Ravens game was arguably the lowest point of their entire year, and some initial decent performances brought up their yearly average.  Nevertheless, those Rams took an epic pounding; there’s a very real chance that Ryan fools Stafford with some looks, and the Jets get two, three, four, or more picks.  If Stafford or Best step up and have a massive day, the Lions might be able to put more than what I’ve projected on the table—but I don’t expect that.  These numbers are likely realistic.


The data that tells me Gunther knows how to stop his former boss (and his son, a former co-worker).  My instincts tell me that a team the Packers shut out at home won’t put up 24-27 against this defense in front of a sold-out Ford Field.  Despite all the ways I could be proven wrong, I’m going to go with the data and my gut.  The most likely outcome of the game is a 17-13  Lions win.  As a corrollary, I have a sneaking suspicion that a special teams or defensive touchdown may either widen the gap for the Lions, or flip the script in the Jets’ favor.

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,new york jets,rex ryan,brian schottenheimer,jim schwartz,gunther cunningham,scott linehan,matthew stafford,mark sanchez


Tinderbox: Sellout!

>> 11.03.2010

It looks like Operation Sellout was a huge success—the Lions have announced they’ve already sold out Sunday’s game against the Jets, without the help of an extension!  Admittedly, I have no idea how many tickets were snapped up by TLiW readers who weren’t going anyway—but if even one of you out there was inspired to purchase tickets by yesterday’s post, I deeply, deeply thank you.  I cannot wait for Sunday!

If you missed The Knee Jerks on Monday night, Greg and Big Al were kind enough to have me on as a guest!  I talked about the Lions, what inspired me to start the blog, and we also went a little bit meta about blogging, online sports reporting, and where people are going to get their sports news.  I had a ton of fun—and as always, wish I had more time!  Greg, if you don’t recall, kicked off Barry Week with his awesome contribution.

Finally, crucial thank Big Al, Zac at the Sidelion Report, and Phil at for helping spread the word about Operation Sellout.  I can’t say how proud I am of this fanbase that they put their money where their heart is.  The world is going to get its best look yet at just how big the bonfire’s gotten!

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,new york jets


Lions vs. Jets: Operation Sellout

>> 11.02.2010

As I’ve said before, I don’t get the chance to go to many games.  For starters, I live in Lansing, not Detroit; it’s a just-too-far-to-be-convenient 90-minute drive to the stadium.  For seconds, I lead the praise band at my church—making it to Detroit in time for a 1:00 p.m. game means I either have to take the day off, or duck out entirely.  For thirds, I have three young children—taking a family of five to a game means a bare minimum of $220 just to walk in the door.  Add gas money there and back, parking, food before, during, and after and . . . well, it takes more than a just an exhortive Tweet from Jim Schwartz to get me to Ford Field.

One of the best things about having small children, though, is that parents become grandparents.  On Sunday, I will be the beneficiary of some of the attendant spoiling; part of a three-generation Boys’ Day Out.  We’ll be watching the Lions play battle the Jets in living color—and we want you to join us.

The Lions are on the verge of something they haven’t been since Barry left: being nationally interesting.  With surprisingly strong showings against Philadelphia, New York, and DC in the books, plus this week’s New York game, a visit to Dallas, and a Thanksgiving Day game against Boston yet to come . . . the Lions are touring the nation’s biggest sports media cities, and showing them one by one we aren’t who you thought we were.

Check out this gem of a video preview from the New York Daily News immediately prior to the Giants game—and get ready to either seethe with red-hot anger, or bust a gut laughing at how foolish this guy now sounds.  I’m ready for talking heads like that to get words like that crammed down their throat.  I’m ready for the national media to be grabbed by the lapels and shaken awake, clued in to what’s happening in Detroit.  I’m ready for these Lions to announce their arrival on the NFL scene with a roar.  We want to roar with them—and we want you to join us.

Some of the same New York guys who pooh-poohed the Lions’ arrival into Your Company Name Here Stadium a few weeks ago will be flying into Detroit, while trying vainly to conceal their contempt.  All of the same national-media types who’ve expelled gallons of breath and ink on Donovan McNabb’s benching, while ignoring the defense that forced it, will have one eye on the monitor displaying this game.  Every NFL fan who can’t get enough of Rex Ryan, the Sanchize, and Revis Island will be tuning in to see the Jets take out their just-got-shut-out frustrations on the Lions.  I want the Lions to teach them all a lesson while we’re there to cheer them on—and we want you to join us.

I want Ford Field to be filled to the rafters with fans ready to roar.  I want to show the world exactly what kind of fans we are—and the Lions to show the world exactly what kind of team they are.  I want the blue bonfire to wax and surge and roar high and tall and bright; a great pillar of flame to be seen a thousand miles away.  I want the Lions to beat the Jets at their own game, pounding the quarterback into submission, feeding off the crowd, resonating with power and strength and energy that’s saturating the air they’re sharing with us.  We’re going to radiate every last watt we’ve got on Sunday, powering the players as much as we can—and we want you to join us.

As I said, I understand well the real-world limitations that face Lions fans.  I understand well how hard it can be to get everything in place to attend a game live.  But do me a favor—if you can attend a game, but were waiting for just the right game, or just the right time?  If you were waiting for them to prove to you they could win before you invested fiscally as you already do emotionally?  Don’t shy away from competition.  Don’t abandon the team when they need you the most.  Don’t sigh when your local Fox affiliate flips over to infomercials because the game’s blacked out again.  Make the call.   Hit the Web.  Smash the piggy bank.  Let’s show the world just how bright this fire roars.

Who’s with me?

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,new york jets


Three Cups Deep: Lions vs. Redskins

>> 11.01.2010


On Saturday, commenter CJ81TD hit me up on Twitter, and asked "what do you expect from Stafford tomorrow? Rust or picking up where hill left off?" I replied, “A 1st-Q INT, then perfection.”

Obviously, Matthew Stafford was far short of perfection yesterday.  He was 26 of 45, a 57.8% completion rate.  He threw for only 210 yards—only 4.67 per attempt!  The Lions were an appalling 4/17 on third down (23%)—which, combined with the Redskins’ 2/14 , let to many, many punts.  Dave Hogg (@stareagle on Twitter), just started Tweeting “YAP” (Yet Another Punt) after every punt.

. . . and yet, there was a big, big difference.  Stafford got the ball to his playmakers, over and over again.  He took chances, but was only burned once (by a great defensive play, at that).  He made plays, made yards, made touchdowns happen—and with him out there, the Lions’ offense is something to be reckoned with.  Even with Stafford seeming rusty, and his targets having a rough day catching the football, the sixth-best scoring offense in the NFL gave us reason to believe that it has another gear we haven’t seen yet.

One thing that I noticed—and talked about extensively in the Fireside Chat—is how visibly frustrated Stafford was with his targets.   A graphic popped up that said the Lions lead the NFL in dropped passes, and I’m sure they padded that lead yesterday.  I’m not sure if it’s Stafford being inaccurate, the wideouts needing to readjust to Stafford’s zippier passes, or what, but there were a lot of missed opportunities on Sunday.

On the whole, though, the Lions scored when they needed to—even when they needed to score a lot.  The running game was exactly what it needed to be, with Best and Smith proving to be a complementary pair, indeed.  Except for Albert Haynesworth occasionally proving to be too much for Dominic Raiola to handle solo, the offensive line did its job, too. 

This is the high-flying Lions offense we thought we’d be seeing this year—and it’s only going to fly higher as the captain settles back into his chair.  Next week, I think we’ll see what “full throttle” looks like, as another full week of practice with Stafford, Johnson, Burleson, Best all healthy gets everyone back on the same flight plan.  Now please fasten your seat belts, turn off electronic devices, and put your trays in the upright position—because I’m ending with a tortured “Jets” metaphor, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,matthew stafford


Fireside Chat: Lions vs. Redskins

Last night’s Fireside Chat was a blast; thanks to everyone who showed up in the chat room!  If you want to have a listen, here you go—or, just subscribe to the Fireside Chat via iTunes.

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,fireside chat,podcast,washington redskins


The Watchtower: Lions Vs. Redskins

>> 10.31.2010

Last night, I threw a question out to the Twitter followers: “Should I work on an excellent gameday post, or a Watchtower I likely won’t finish?”  The only answer I got back was from @derylgarland, who said “Will one choice make Michigan’s defense less sucky?”  The answer, of course, was no—so, tilting at a windmill, I started a Watchtower I knew I couldn’t finish. 

Mike Shanahan vs. Gunther Cunningham

Shan Gun Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
DEN KCC 9th 24.3 6.81 4.53 1st 15.1 5.41 4.38 7 5.35 2 3.27 3-1 3-14
DEN KCC 9th 24.3 6.81 4.53 1st 15.1 5.41 4.38 10 6.72 0 4.00 2-2 3-38
DEN KCC 4th 24.4 6.40 4.50 11th 18.8 6.60 3.78 14 5.20 2 5.96 0-0 2-18
DEN KCC 4th 24.4 6.40 4.50 11th 18.8 6.60 3.78 34 8.94 2 4.95 2-1 0-0
DEN KCC 1st 29.5 6.81 4.57 1st 14.5 6.43 3.92 22 7.48 0 3.38 2-1 6-38
DEN KCC 1st 29.5 6.81 4.57 1st 14.5 6.43 3.92 14 8.95 0 3.40 4-2 1-7
DEN KCC 2nd 31.3 7.38 4.70 22nd 22.7 6.23 3.81 30 7.83 0 5.86 0-0 1-6
DEN KCC 2nd 31.3 7.38 4.70 22nd 22.7 6.23 3.81 35 12.50 1 3.21 2-2 2-17
DEN KCC 18th 19.6 6.17 4.01 13th 20.1 6.02 3.75 10 5.55 2 3.38 4-2 2-16
DEN KCC 18th 19.6 6.17 4.01 13th 20.1 6.02 3.75 10 6.31 1 4.61 0-0 2-19
DEN KCC 2nd 30.3 7.46 4.48 19th 22.1 6.32 3.83 15 6.71 1 4.83 2-2 1-11
DEN KCC 2nd 30.3 7.46 4.48 19th 22.1 6.32 3.83 0 6.69 0 3.79 1-1 2-9
DEN KCC 9th 23.8 7.68 4.37 29th 27.2 8.05 4.62 34 7.93 2 5.33 3-1 1-9
DEN KCC 9th 23.8 7.68 4.37 29th 27.2 8.05 4.62 17 7.12 2 6.14 2-1 5-19
DEN KCC 7th 24.7 6.94 4.68 16th 20.3 6.58 4.10 30 5.97 0 5.97 2-0 2-0
DEN KCC 7th 24.7 6.94 4.68 16th 20.3 6.58 4.10 27 9.52 2 4.52 0-0 2-19
WAS DET 22nd 18.6 6.89 4.10 23rd 22.4 7.13 4.79            

Here’s why I couldn’t do it: Shanahan and Cunningham have a long, long history of facing each other as coordinators, longer than any I’ve ever written up before.  Dave Birkett of the Free Press wrote an excellent article that explores their rivalry and relationship:

"Like I said, that system is a special system," Cunningham said. "I know a lot about it, obviously. I can run the plays myself."

Over the years, there’s been a tug-of war between the two—but Cunningham has had the upper hand, by Watchtower reckoning.  Looking at their respective units, both men have had some incredible successes; in 1997 Shanahan led the best offense in the NFL against Cunningham’s best defense in the NFL—and in both games, Cunningham’s defense held Shanahan’s offense well below their average on the season.  In the second game, they even held them a half-point below their average allowed!  There are several other examples in the table above where Shanahan’s offense dramatically underperformed expectations.

In 1999, the only season where Cunningham's defense was clearly better than Shanahan's offense, the Broncos were held to ten offensive points in both games—when the Broncos were averaging almost 20 on the year.

The handful of examples where the Broncos met or exceeded their season averages, there’s a common thread: exceptional yards-per-attempt averages.  You see, Shanahan deploys the most run-heavy variant of the Bill Walsh “West Coast” offense: even when his passing game is devastatingly efficient, it’s not for very high yards-per-attempt.  Look at 1997 (highlighted with double-white): the Broncos were the #1 scoring offense in the NFL, yet averaging only 6.81 YpA.  That’s healthy, to be sure, but typically elite offenses average between 7 and 8 YpA.  Now look at the YpC: 4.57.  Shanahan’s offenses are most fearsome when the running game is rolling, not when the passing game is exploding.

Cunningham has thus focused on depressing the rushing yardage—and has been largely successful.  When he’s failed to stop Shanahan is when the passing defense completely fails, and Shanahan’s offense starts racking up atypically huge YpA.  Therefore, I’m comfortable concluding: given greater, equal, or lesser talent, Gunther Cunningham’s defenses have a systemic advantage in depressing scoring, by aggressively attacking the run—but if Shanahan’s offense can counter with the deep pass, this effect is negated.

This season, the Redskins’ offense is ranked 22nd, averaging 18.6 points per game.  The running game is uncharacteristically mediocre (4.10 YpC), due at least in part to Clinton Portis’s groin injury—but Ryan Torain has been an admirable fill-in.  The Skins’ offensive line is aging, though, so if Gunther can do what he normally does against Shanahan, the Lions could depress scoring indeed.  The only question will be, can Donovan McNabb exploit the Lions secondary?  I project the Redskins will score 13-17 points, average 7.00-7.50 YpA, and muster 3.25-3.50 YpC.  I have high confidence in this prediction.

Scott Linehan vs. Jim Haslett

Lin Has Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
MIN NOS 8th 24.4 6.60 5.3 26th 24.2 6.42 4.14 32 8.67 0 5.84 1-0 3-19
MIN NOS 6th 25.3 7.16 4.71 26th 24.2 6.42 4.14 38 6.17 2 6.71 4-1 2-8
MIA NOS 16th 19.9 5.94 3.69 26th 24.2 6.42 4.14 33 10.34 0 3.73 0-0 6-26
DET WAS 6th 25.2 5.95 3.63 9th 19.0 6.75 4.69            

I’m flat-out running out of time for this part, and I’m deeply sorry.  But we don’t have very good data anyway—Linehan’s offense has had a massive talent advantage every time they’ve met—and have met the expectations that that would engender, doing very very well each time.  The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the Lions will meet expectations—and the Lions, ranked sixth in the NFL with 25.2 points per game, should score 20-23 points against the 9th-ranked Redskins defense.  I have very low confidence in this prediction.


Okay folks, I'm calling it: with Stafford back, a mostly-full home crowd, DeAndre Levy, and a winning streak (!) going against the Redskins, the most likely outcome of the game is a 20-14 Lions victory.

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,washington redskins,jim schwartz,mike shanahan,gunther cunningham,scott linehan,jim haslett

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