The last time the Detroit Lions played on Monday Night Football, I was in the sixth grade. Barack Obama hadn’t even been elected to the U.S. senate yet, let alone the presidency. The number one single in the U.S.? “Fallin” by Alecia Keys- don’t worry, I didn’t pull that off the top of my head.
Our nation was still reeling from 9/11, which had just happened four weeks before the Lions most recent MNF appearance. Most notable, the Lions were BAD (I KNOW!!!), losing the game 35-0 to the Rams, who would go on to get beat in the Superbowl by an Adam Vinatieri field goal that gave the Patriots their first title in team history.
Yes, the last time the Lions played a Monday night game, Tom Brady had a total of zero rings. Matt Stafford hadn’t attempted a pass for his high school team yet, and Calvin Johnson was in the tenth grade- and already 6’4”. The Lions’ coach was the beloved Marty Mornhinweg, and the starting quarterback was good old Charlie Batch.
All this added up to a 2-14 season for the Lions, one that began with 12 straight losses.
I had to bring this up because (hopefully) most Lions fans have forgotten about the horrific Lions of years
past, and are focused on this new Lions team that actually wins ball games.
The drought will finally come to an end this Monday when the Lions host the Chicago Bears, ten years and two days removed from the last Lions MNF appearance. This is easily the longest current stretch any team has gone without a Monday night appearance, and it’s not even close. The second longest streak belongs to the Seattle Seahawks, who last played on a Monday in 2007.
All this adds up to one thing- the Lions finally have some hype, and it isn’t about where they are drafting. The boys in Honolulu blue are 4-0 for the first time in my life, and are poised to make a run at a division title for the first time on over a decade.
Even Bears defensive back Charles Tillman is buying into the Lions. “They’re on fire. They’re 4-0, and in order for us to win against a team like that, we definitely have to bring our ‘A’ game in all three phases.”
He’s absolutely right- if the Bears want to keep pace with the Lions’ high powered offense, it will take a fantastic performance from both quarterback Jay Cutler and runningback Matt Forte, not to mention a return or two from wide receiver Devin Hester. The Lions have been able to score points in bunches this season, and on top of being effective on offense, the Bears defense will have to stop the Lions from doing just that.
Both defenses will be key in this game; the Lions will have to stop the explosive Forte while the Bears will have to deal with the likes of Calvin Johnson. I favor the Lions here since they have a great front four (that might finally include Nick Fairley this week, fingers crossed) that can stuff the run. On the other side, none of the corners for Chicago will be able to match up in single coverage with Johnson, but then again I have yet to see a corner who does match up with Megatron.
If the Lions can get their offense started in the first half for a change, I think they can handle the Bears easily especially with the electricity that the Ford Field crowd will provide. The matchups on offense look good for the Lions, and if defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham calls some blitzes to get to Cutler, I think the Lions will be able to get some big turnovers from their defense that has played very well thus far.
When all is said and done, I like the Lions to please a packed house and beat the Bears by a touchdown on Monday night.
After all, it’s been a long time coming