Monday, January 9, 2012
Sanka freeze-dried version:
1. All 10 victories were over 8-8 or worse teams.
2. The last two games highlighted obvious areas for personnel improvement:
A. Defense (all areas)
B. Running Game. (Add one decent (or better) running back to current core.)
Room for improvement in play (eternal-return-of-the-same edition)
A. Cut down on flags.
B. Learn to tackle. (See 2-A)
3. Lions were on the positive side of the luck lottery more often than usual this season, pulling off 4 improbable comebacks. They cannot rely on that happening again. Assuming two of those four didn’t go positive; Lions would have been 8-8.
Look ahead to 2012 season:
Home: Packers, Vikings, Bears, Rams, Seahawks, Texans, Colts, Falcons
Away: Packers, Vikings, Bears, Cardinals, 49ers, Jaguars, Titans, Eagles
8-8 or worse:
Vikes, Bears, Rams, Hawks, Colts
Cards, Jags, Eaglets
So, assume they win all the home games, that’s 4 wins.
Assume they win in Fla, as they tend to do, and at Az, but do not in Phillie, that’s 6 wins.
Now, looking at the rest of the schedule:
Assume they split the divisional games, losing away, winning home: that’s 9 wins.
Assume losses to Falcons, Texans, Niners and Titans, that’s 9-7.
So, 9-7 is a sort of baseline prediction, things could flex either way a game or two. Absent significant improvement in D, and/or running game, that will not be sufficient to win division. So, no home play-off game in 1st round. Another early exit if they make it through the tiebreaker bramble.
Assuming significant improvement in one or both of the areas, give them an extra win, perhaps on road against Bears. Still not sufficient to catch the Pack.
Another road game in wild card round, probable loss.
So, my prediction, 9-7: Probably miss playoffs on some tiebreaker.
Hope: I’m wrong.
Last Word: Congratulations for an exciting year, and turning the team into a more than respectable offensive powerhouse. The Leos exceeded my expectations by two games. If they were to successfully address their shortcomings, earn their two extra win exceeding-of-expectations again, they’d be 11-5, playing the NFC East winner, and might pull off that first round win. I’d be happy with that.
Oh. And one more thing. Over to you Opera Man Lions Fan: