Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Nov 2013

MMQB: Lions, Panthers

This week PK champions Carolina and Detroit for playoff spots, looks at the latest in the Incognito saga, and writes a requiem for Bailey.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 11 Nov 2013

15 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2013, 3:23am by tuluse


by RickD :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:11pm

Seems weird that PK describes the Lions' future schedule as relatively light, given that it includes the Steelers, Ravens, Packers, and Giants, winners of four of the last five Super Bowls. I understand the point, but it seems weird.

by zlionsfan :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 6:17pm

I was actually looking at this two games prior to the Lions' bye, and realizing with a start that it wouldn't be out of the question for them to finish 12-4, and that anything less than 10-6 would be disappointing. Mind you, this was before the Rodgers injury.

And yeah, it's certainly grown easier as the season progresses and we've learned that perhaps none of those teams are in the hunt this year ... but by the same token, this isn't necessarily any different than 1991. The Lions lost their best player for one game this season and got thumped by a quality team (only Bill Ford had the good sense not to make an asinine comment about it); the '13 edition may not be tested again in the regular season like the '91 team was, but it's hard to escape the mixture of elation (that Detroit not only may make the playoffs, but should, given the health of Cutler and Rodgers) and dismay (that the Lions can't get out of their own way and can credit most of their victories to mistakes on the other side of the ball).

It's not like it's the Giants, you know? I see nothing to indicate that come playoff time, Schwartz will flip a switch, and all those stupid penalties and bad throws and costly fumbles will just disappear.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 7:01pm

The 91 Lions squad was a really good team. I remember them thumping the Jets, who also made the playoffs that year at 8-8 (the AFC definitely was down that year), as well as destroying the Cowboys in the playoffs. I doubt this Lions team is as good. The big difference is that no one is pretending to be the 91 Redskins this year. The Broncos looked the part early on, but have staggered a little. Seattle is 9-1 but they aren't nearly as dominant as their record. If the Lions get a 2 seed, they could get to the NFC championship game like their 91 predecessors.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 8:20pm

I disagree that this Lions team isn't as good as the '91 team.

Top to bottom, this team has a much better roster than the '91 team. Yes, Barry was great. But Rodney Peete? And god bless Erik Kramer for playing the best game of his life against Dallas in the playoffs, but Stafford is way better than either of them (even accounting for the inflation of passing numbers). And Megatron and a bloated corpse is a 10x better receiving corps than Willie Green and Robert Clark (remember Herman Moore was a rookie and barely played). You might argue that the '91 defense was better, but it's not by that much.

That being said, I agree with both of you that I don't trust this team to do much in the playoffs. Too many points left on the field. Too many drive-extending penalties on defense. Unreliable kicker. If they stay in the #3 seed, they may get by the WC round with a favorable matchup, but they would get destroyed in Seattle or New Orleans.

But given what we've watched from this team in the past decade, I'll take that.

by BJR :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 8:30pm

I don't really know my Lions' history, but would it be fair to compare the two teams on the basis that they both had/have one such freakish talent that makes it very difficult to evaluate just how good the rest of offence actually is?

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 9:22pm

I think it says more about how the Steelers, Ravens, and Giants management have allowed their teams to degrade than anything. The Lions are just situated to take advantage of it.
I'm still waiting for the Lions to put together a complete game like they did against SD in 2011 before I'll be convinced that they're ready for playoffs again.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/12/2013 - 10:26am

Agreed, although there aren't many teams left on their schedule that you could consider a "prove it" game. The Packers will likely be without Rodgers, which would make the Lions comfortable favorites. Maybe the Eagles will be considered a challenge if Foles keeps playing well. The rest of the opponents range from bad to mediocre.

by Theo :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:39pm

"...then Indianapolis obviously should beat St. Louis by 44"

It's a good joke until you realize half his readers think he's serious.

by Guest789 :: Mon, 11/11/2013 - 5:41pm

I was all prepared to roll my eyes at PK spending a quarter of his column talking about his dog, but dammit if it didn't bring a tear to my eye by the end.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by SWWarrior#41 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/12/2013 - 4:18am

Anyone else have problems opening the page?

I can open other articles on the MMQB site, but this article always crashes?

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/12/2013 - 11:20am

I can't open any of the MMQB articles at work. I'm guessing there is an ad or something in the web design that won't get past the firewall here. While I can open it at home on my iPad, MMQB loads very badly with banners that move up-and-down the page. It's not much better in Chrome, my browser of choice. It's an incredibly poorly designed page that I'm guessing PK had final approval over and probably looked good when it was demoed to him. If it wasn't for some of the articles from Bedard and the others, I probably wouldn't bother even reading it anymore.

by Theo :: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 6:08am

If you can, add 'ad block plus' and a flashblocker to your browser (firefox and chrome have it, I don't know about IE)
It's easy and saves you a seasure from time to time.

by Alexander :: Tue, 11/12/2013 - 5:16pm

I understand the reality of the Lions probably getting a playoff spot, but god am I eager to bet against them. The Bears would have blown them out if Cutler was 80% instead of 40%.

Any healthy playoff team will take them to the woodshed.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 10:47am

I'm a little skeptical of that given that the Lions took the Bears to woodshed in week 4 when everybody was healthy (they had a 24 point lead with 4 minutes left until the Bears scored two garbage time TDs/2 pointers).

Carolina or SF would likely be favored to win in the wildcard round, but I doubt it would be a blowout. DVOA has the Lions ranked #10, and they're exactly at their expected wins, so it's not like they're the 2010 Chiefs or the 2012 Colts.

by tuluse :: Sat, 11/16/2013 - 3:23am

The Bears were not really healthy in week 4, but it doesn't matter because they'll not be healthy again this year.