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Have I ever mentioned how horrible Jameis Winston is at being a quarterback? Probably not…I will in a moment. Facing a bad Tampa Bay team, with Winston being erratic…it was 21-21 with 0:25 left to go in this game…the Lions hitting a field goal at that point to slink away with the 24-21 win.
The Lions have once again found themselves in the playoff discussion by being an average team beating mostly bad teams and wobbling to a .500+ record and in the wild-card mix. The Lions are the epitome of a ‘solid’ team…they’ll give good teams a nice fight (and lose) and they’ll handle bad teams. ‘Lucky’ doesn’t even begin to describe them the past two years with their schedule. This season: didn’t play GB with Rodgers, had NYG and CLE on the docket, etc. Nothing surprises me with this team…they play good teams tight and let bad teams stay too close.
-5.5 favorites over the Bears this week…I don’t know. I wouldn’t lay a big number with the Lions.
Detroit should beat Chicago to jump to 8-6 and then they go at Cincy…which should be another win to get them to 9-6. Week 17 with Green Bay could either be a showdown for the final wild-card spot with the Packers or if the Green Bay fell out of it by then…it might be a gift versus Brett Hundley. There’s a path to 10 wins for Detroit but they’ve lost to Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta so they’re likely going to be bounced via tiebreakers with the other/likely wild-card contenders. The Lions have no signature win over any team that might hit the 9-10 win mark for the wild-card.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The biggest thing I was struck with from this game was the real push O.J. Howard (4-54-01/6) got in this game. The first time a Winston-led offense really went after OJH and ignored Cameron Brate (1-11-0/1).
I do mean ‘push’.
It was weird. Like…Winston was throwing blind passes to Howard, ill-advised ones…like he was forcing it. Like he was told to throw to Howard. That’s a good sign from the OJH front because that’s what we want.
The Howard TD was a 2-yarder and Brate wasn’t even in the alignment and the play was absolutely designed for Howard.
Another time, Winston…who really sucks. Let me stop there and talk about Winston…this guy, I swear – he just predetermines most of this throws and he flings errant passes into absolute danger. The passes are so bad that the defense can’t get the picks because there’s four of them trying to get the grab and they end up unwittingly knocking each other from the catch. The two targets that Howard did not catch…Winston floated a screwball into quadruple covered Howard going deep. The other, a deep crosser, Winston overthrew Howard, who was tightly covered in front, by 10 yards over his head and it sailed right to the safety playing way back…he should never have tried to throw it in the first place.
The two mistargets are good signs because we want Winston forcing it to OJH for whatever reason he’s now decided to.
Winston normally reserves blind passes for Mike Evans (2-25-0/5) but after two catches on the first drive…Evans didn’t catch another pass the rest of the game. Evans was a little gimpy with a back bothering him, but this Evans nightmare has been almost an all-season thing. He hasn’t caught a TD in 6 games. 1-5-6-2-2 for catches the past 5 games. 13-92-78-33-25 for yards the last 5 games.
It’s hard to bench Evans…but we’re getting to the point in a critical playoff game that it’s worth thinking about with better options. I’d say with TB on the big stage of MNF at home…it’s probably where Evans shows up again…maybe.
-- My favorite moment in this game was early on when one of the empty-headed, know-nothing Barber twins were doing the game analysis and blurted out “…and the Lions have these explosive running backs in Theo Riddick and Tion Green!”
Really? Have you ever watched a Lions’ football game…ever?
Theo and Tion are the antitheses of ‘explosive’.
On cue, just as he said it…Tion Green (5-15-0) entered for his first carry…a 3rd & 1 pitch sweep to the outside. Imagine a giant sea turtle with a broken leg getting a toss sweep in an NFL game on an obvious running situation. Imagine that turtle had a Hyundai Elantra strapped to it’s back…and that’s the same outcome you got with Tion Green taking a key toss sweep.
Theo Riddick (10-29-2, 6-64-0/10) is awful too…but he can catch and is preferred, so thus the sweet FF effort the last 2 weeks. He works until Detroit wakes up. However, I could see Ameer Abdullah active Week 15, and angry, and with something to prove, and has a few nice carries, which will look like Barry Sanders compared to Riddick-Green and we’re back to Abdullah with 10+ carries and Riddick having random catching moments.
-- Eric Ebron (10-94-0/11) is also awful…there are a lot of awful players in this game, no?
The thing with Ebron is for about 7 games (Weeks 3-10), Ebron was pure garbage…1-2-3 meaningless catches in games. A laughingstock.
The last 4 games? 4-4-4-10 for catches those 4 games. 5.5 rec., 53.8 yards, 0.0 TDs per game. Looks better, but you probably don’t care…but that’s better than what Evan Engram is doing with Eli.
Chances I would start Ebron over Evan = 0.0%
-- Peyton Barber (12-58-0) is the slightly better version of Tion Green.
He’s not athletic and works on a team missing key OLs. Doug Martin (10-26-1, 2-24-0/4) is risky with this group and Barber is a waste of your time.
-- Furthering the Bucs possible forced push of the youth, Howard saw better action and so did rookie WR Chris Godwin (5-68-0/6), who had his best game in several weeks. He played the second-most targets among any Bucs WR in this game. Maybe he gets a push to finish the season as well?
-- Lions rookie LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (6 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 PD) had his best game of the season. He’s still playing less 50% of the snaps, but given the Lions struggles at linebacker…JRM may get a push because he’s a spark plug, a hitter.
Snap Counts of Interest…
56 = Howard
25 = Brate
58 = Evans
40 = Goodwin
38 = Humphries
30 = DJax
48 = Riddick
13 = Green
07 = Zenner