Espresso impresario David Schomer once offered this advice to Seattle-area espresso cart owners about the winter months:
During January and February, hunker down and dream of springtime. No one does great business during the after-Christmas slowdown, and it is particularly hard when you face your coldest weather at that same time. Do not close! The coffee business is built on daily customers who have a habit of stopping at your stand. If you close for a couple of months they will be gone.
The blue fire had been slowly waning over the last few weeks, from an unstoppable inferno to a relaxed, comfortable bonfire. Last week at this time, the fire shuddered alarminglyy, and I realized that the wood racks were almost bare. I set to work with the axe and sled, and many offered their hands and backs in the effort.
Today, all is well. The 45-10 defeat of the hapless Broncos set everything as back it was: the defensive line ate well all afternoon, hauling Tebow down seven times. Matthew Stafford completed 70.0% of his passes for 8.90 YpA, three touchdowns, and no picks. Calvin Johnson hit a home run, and came within several inches of tacking on a second score. The Lions defense outscored the Broncos all by themselves; even if the Lions offense had been completely shut out the Lions would still have Mile High Stadium At Whatever the Corporate Sponsor’s Name Is Geographic Location as winners.
Now, we have the bye week . . . a disruption in the rhythm that keeps us hooked into the Lions seven days a week in-season. Every day, we go to our favorite sites knowing what to expect: the recap, the rehash, the opinion, the analysis, the preview. Somewhere around Thursday it’ll hit us that there will be no Lions football this week. We’ll break our habit. We’ll attend to the yardwork or that light switch or play catch in the yard or maybe even take a nap.
Meanwhile, the NFL will rage on. The Bears will host the Panthers, and unless Cam Newton does to Chicago what he couldn’t to Minnesota, the Bears will draw to within a game of the Lions. This will make the Lions return to action all-important. Pivotal. Season-defining. If the Lions can defeat the Bears, that’s a 2-game lead with all the tiebreakers; effectively a three-game lead with just six games to play.
The Lions would have the beautiful luxury of being able to go 3-4 through the meat grinder and still end up at 10-6—and likely, in the playoffs. The Lions could dispatch the Panthers and Vikings in Ford Field, and split at Oakland or at home against the Chargers, and still have a nearly guaranteed postseason berth. Were the Bears to lose to Carolina, the Lions could even suffer a Marinellian post-Chicago collapse and still be the second-best team in the NFC North.
In the past, the old bye-week joke has gone, “Well, at least the Lions can’t lose this week.” Instead, let’s be disappointed we can’t get our every-Monday cup of victory.