Friday, May 22, 2009
Sitting in the bar still recovering from the Red Wings overtime time loss I witnessed something special.
As I look around the bar patrons began to finish their last sips of beer and close their tabs. A few sports fans still stayed glued to the television, myself included. While the conversation continues to swarm around the officials terrible choice to lay down a game misconduct on Kronwall for what was a seemingly clean hit. The Orlando Magic once again recovered from a double digit half time deficit.
Then I saw something I haven't seen called in the NBA in years, traveling on the king himself. Once known as his patented "crab dribble" the hop and two step drive to the basket. The Magic take over from there and with 1.0 second left they hold dearly to a two point win at the Quicken Loans Arena. This is the place where only two teams won all year, and the Magic look to have won two games to start the series.
With my eyes still focused on the screen I viewed something that blew my mind. LBJ grabbed the ball off the inbound with 1.0 second left and in one motion caught and shot the ball. As soon as he let it go I knew it was in.
That shot will go down in history as his defining shot. We all know MJ's shot and in twenty years everyone will know Lebron's shot.
In the past I was skeptical but tonight I became a witness.
The NFC North was arguably the worst conference in the NFL last season, thanks in large part to the Detroit Lions ability to go winless.
The thing I love most about the NFL is any team can go from awful one year to division champions the next, see Miami Dolphins 2007 to 2008 turnaround. With careful maneuvering and an improved game plan the leagues door mat, Arizona Cardinals, working their way to a last minute loss in the grandest of all stages, the Super Bowl.
Now that the initial sadness of drafting more skill positions with high picks has worn off I feel I can honestly say I am looking forward to this upcoming season. Some of you may laugh, some know that this is what any die-heard Lions fan says in the summer leading up to the seasons kick-off. This year is different, this year we have a game plan. This year we are sticking to it. With the recent signing of Ephraim Salaam, who has been showcased in the Super Bowl.
The Lions are continuing to get bigger, stronger, and most importantly wiser.
If you take a look around the NFC North there seems to be an opportunity for the Lions to hit the division hard. Chicago has finally found their quarterback, and with their improved run game they should be a tough challenge. Although, the Bears forgot that they need some one to throw to. Until they can find some reliable weapons defenses will gang up on the run game which will cause Cutler to be the erratic qb that he truly is.
Last years champs, Minnesota, have been so busy chasing after Brett Farve that they forgot to get a qb. Unless Brett Farve goes to the Vikings and some how remembers how to be a team player again the Vikings will need Adrian Peterson to not only stay healthy but carry a Javon Ringer like amount of carries.
Then you have the Packers offensively could be the most explosive with Aaron Rodgers coming along and the running game always being successful. The problem I foresee is a lack of experience defensively. They are going to ask a lot from their two first round draft picks, Raji and Matthews. If they can contribute then this is the team to watch out for, if not it could be another cold and disappointing winter in Green Bay.
All in all the Lions most likely wont win the division, but Kevin Smiths' prediction that they will make the playoffs could be right on the money. The Lions have a tough but manageable schedule. Playing the Bears and Packers in their respective stadiums early could be extremely beneficial. We will know a lot about this team by their bye week in the 7th week, which is later then last year. If they can steal a win from New Orleans in the opening week they could feasible go into Solider Field with a 3-0 record. My prediction for this year will be the Detroit Lions will go 9-7, a very respectable record after last years debacle, maybe good enough for a spot in the playoffs.