It’s no secret that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been as good as advertised so far in 2012. He’s turned a 2-14 ball club into a playoff contender, and has done it in style.
Luck has thrown for 3,205 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie campaign, leading the Colts to a 7-4 record.
If the season ended today, Indianapolis would be in the playoffs.
Conversely, the Detroit Lions find themselves in the cellar of the NFC North at 4-7. Detroit has been left to wonder how this season has slipped away from their grasp, a question that there is no short answer to.
The Lions have lost only one game by more than one score, and twice have been edged by a field goal in overtime. It’s been a story of heartbreak for Detroit, but in Indy they’re singing a completely different tune.
And that’s a tune that the Lions don’t want to hear.
Knowing the attitude of their head coach and the tenacity of this Detroit team, I know nothing would make them happier than to derail the Colts’ playoff dreams. It’s a task that the Lions can certainly accomplish if they play the way they did last week against Houston.
I know the Lions lost that game, but it was one of their best performances in recent memory. They gave the now 10-1 Texans everything they had, and were only a field goal off the post away from the upset win.
And the worst rule in NFL history didn’t help them either.
But the past is exactly that, and Detroit has nowhere to go but forward. The Lions have to go forward and begin taking a hard look at players whose contracts will be expiring at the end of 2012. The big one is obviously Cliff Avril, who was franchise tagged by Detroit at the beginning of this season. GM Martin Mayhew was reluctant to give him a big deal in August, and after his numbers have declined a bit this season, will remain reluctant come February.
But with his other defensive end, Kyle Vanden Bosch, showing significant signs of aging, Mayhew may have no choice but to resign Avril. The good news for Mayhew is that he has two good young DEs in Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young. While neither is on the same level as Avril talent wise, both can play and one should replace Vanden Bosch in the starting rotation next season.
The season isn’t over yet, but the Lions are out of playoff contention and it’s time for the brass to begin working on their team for the future. This starts with benching KVB and letting Young and Jackson show the coaching staff what they can do. I’d also like to see rookie Ronnell Lewis get a little playing time at defensive end. Heck, even I’m better than Vanden Bosch at this point.
Even if the playoffs are lost, at least one man on this Detroit team is highly motivated. Wideout Calvin Johnson has to average 119 yards per game in Detroit’s final five contests to break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record of 1,848 yards.
The record has stood for nearly 20 years (1995), and is a record that Johnson said would be an honor to get.
Johnson is coming off one of his best months as a pro, a month in which he earned the honor of Offensive Player of the month in the NFC. Johnson and Barry Sanders are the only Lions to ever receive the award.
“I didn’t know where I stood as far as (beating the record) goes but my thing is just keep on grinding like we’ve been doing. Of course you can’t help it since people mentioned it, that’s in the back of your mind. Keep doing what I’m doing, man, and if it happens it happens. That would be great.”
Megatron is known for being a humble guy, but deep down this record would mean a lot to him and to the organization.
With Megatron going for the record, a couple young quarterbacks dueling it out, and the possibility of seeing some young Lions players, this game should be fun to watch on Sunday.
The game airs at 1:05p.m. on CBS.
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