Detroit Lions Solidify Hold on NFC Wild Card Slot

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Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder were hobbling heading into Sunday’s contest at versus the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. The former decided to sit it out while the latter tried to make a go of it. The result dictated that they both should have let other players take the field in their place.

The hardest call in sports besides the charge or block in basketball is whether to play or not. Numerous fantasy sites dedicate countless hours of manpower on whether a player will take the field, when the chance of effectiveness is really the key.

The worst news of the day for the Detroit Lions is that the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Carolina Panthers to match their record at 8-5. Conversely, the Bears fell to the Denver Broncos to fall to 7-6. The Vikings once again displayed heart in the defeat. The NFL is certainly a results driven league, but not everything in life is black and white. The Vikes outscored the Lions 14-3 in the second half of a contest that theoretically meant nothing to them.

If one simply looked at the numbers upon the completion of the game, Minnesota could certainly have come out the victor except for the turnover disparity. Joe Webb came into the game after Christian Ponder threw three interceptions. This game proved to be a situation where Leslie Frazier and the team physicians simply should have held Ponder out. Usually a player will do almost anything to get on the field, but it is up to the surrounding professionals to make an objective judgment.

The Lions had less than half the first downs that Minnesota did. They accumulated one hundred forty five yards less in total offense. Detroit had about two hundred yards less rushing and had more than double the yardage of the Vikings  in penalties. Of course the one thing that I have left out of the equation so far is the final score of 34-28 in favor of the Lions. When having the lead, some of the statistics can become skewed because clock management becomes the first priority over moving the ball.

Matthew Stanford was a bright spot for Detroit by completing over two thirds of his passes to accompany both his touchdown tosses. Titus Young proved to be the deep threat by catching a fifty-seven yard pass and totaling near ninety yards on the afternoon. Defensive end Cliff Avril attempted to make up for the absence of Ndamukong Suh by sacking the quarterback twice and achieving seven total tackles on the day.

Next week the Lions travel to the bay area to take on an Oakland team that has its tail between its legs. The late afternoon contest will have playoff implications for Detroit with the schedule winding down. After that they return home to contest a rejuvenated San Diego Chargers team that seems to be fighting for Norv Turner’s job. It remains to be seen whether Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde shows up in the person of Philip Rivers on that date.

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