Sometimes in sports, all it takes is one little injury for the tables to turn upside down.
This is especially true when it comes to my fantasy football teams.
Such is the case in both fantasy football and real football, and unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, they cannot go and claim Ryan Tannehill off of waivers and must roll out Seneca Wallace for the foreseeable future.
Much like the Packers, the Chicago Bears also lost their starting quarterback recently, and Josh McCown has filled in admirably for the hobbled Jay Cutler, beating the Rodgers-less Packers on Monday night.
But how good is McCown? Can he lead the Bears to a win over the Detroit Lions this weekend?
Rumors are circling that Jay Cutler may suit up on Sunday for this huge divisional game between two of the three teams tied atop the NFC North standings. The winner will have a guaranteed spot at the top of the division, as well as the best record in the division.
Despite the magnitude of the game, I don’t see Cutler being ready for this one and I also don’t think Marc Trestman would put him out there against the likes of Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Lions’ formidable front line if he wasn’t 100 percent.
So, with McCown out there, I’ll take the Lions, putting Detroit in the driver’s seat for the division crown.
With Wallace at the helm in Green Bay, I don’t see them beating any of their next four opponents besides the Vikings. Even though the Giants are bad, they’ve been playing better, get Andre Brown back and will be playing at home.
But even with the quarterback situations in Chicago and Green Bay murky, can the Lions (THE LIONS!?!?!) really win the division? They haven’t done it since Woodrow Wilson was president and the biggest political issue in the US was the Bull Moose party. They have a tremendous amount of talent, but also have struggled with a tremendous amount of inconsistency.
To exemplify this, look no further than their record over the last three years.
2011: 10-6, made playoffs
2012: 4-12, last in NFC North
2013: 5-3, T-1 in NFC North
They’ve accomplished these records with the same coaching staff, the same starting quarterback and the same superhuman wideout.
What’s the Lions’ issue? Are they the 4-12 team or the 10-6 team? Are they ready to take the leap into the next level?
Coming in to the season, I would have said no. I picked this team to win seven or eight games, miss the playoffs and have major work to do in the offseason with some monster contracts looming.
And then everything changed. Right when it looked like the Lions would start to crumble, they broke the glass, pressed the paddles to their chest and screamed “CLEAR,” jolting their season back to life.
The last-minute, come-from-behind, miracle comeback against the Dallas Cowboys was a season-changing game that has me upping my expectations for this team. Instead of sitting at 4-4 and on a two game losing streak, they’re sitting at 5-3 riding a tsunami-sized wave of momentum.
Detroit is not the best team in the NFC North. In fact, they might be a below average team within their division. But due to a few little injuries, it looks like they’ll get to face the two teams ahead of them with a hurt or backup quarterback on the field. With the front four Detroit has, no QB can feel comfortable, let alone a banged up or second-string one.
If the Lions can keep Matthew Stafford on the field and Cutler and Rodgers stay off of it, the Lions have the edge. I think Detroit actually has the best defense of the three teams, albeit not by much, and the offensive line has played better than expected this year. Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson have been playing some of the best football of their careers, and the amazing win against Dallas proves that Detroit can score points in a big, big hurry.
So give me the Lions. It’s time this division was shaken up, and I’m sick and tired of the Bears and Packers always winning the division.
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