Maybe getting sick on Saturday was a bad omen.
There is one good thing about being sick when Sunday rolls around: curling up and watching football not to be bothered. But there would be plenty to bother me Sunday.
First was the return of Jay Cutler. Cutler’s return looked like a good thing at first when he went for a touchdown pass but threw an interception. That wasn’t Cutler’s or Chicago’s only pleasingly bad moment. Yet despite a few turnovers to the Browns, including a pick six and a fumble returned for a Cleveland touchdown, the Bears won.
At least the Packers were sure to lose against the Cowboys. At the end of the half, Green Bay was down 26-3. Then Dallas allowed Matt Flynn to lead the Packers to a touchdown on every single possession of the second half, ending in a 37-36 Green Bay victory.
That was even more sickening than watching Dallas fail to stop the Bears, led by their backup quarterback, from scoring on every single possession during Monday Night Football the week before.
To add insult to injury on Sunday, the struggling Vikings stomped the Eagles, who just handed Detroit that devastating defeat in the snow! I should have known then that Week 15 wouldn’t end well for the Lions.
Still sick Monday night, I wasn’t able to go to my friend’s and watch as planned, but you can be sure I still put on my Barry Sanders jersey and watched the game. Sunday put even more pressure on the Lions to win or lose first place in the NFC North, but come on! Monday Night Football at Ford Field against a Baltimore team that has struggled to score? We have to get this one.
But after a great opening drive, the first division win in 20 years for the Lions seems to start slipping away.
First, a wide open Megatron drops the ball. How? Why? Wait? Again?! Three times?!! Calvin Johnson makes any one of a few catches the best receiver in football shouldn’t drop and the Lions win.
Can no one see Lardarius Webb holding down Kris Durham’s arm?! Oh wait, everyone can? Except, somehow, not the refs? They have no problem throwing a pass interference flag when Don Carey goes for the ball and Marlon Brown trips and falls during a deep pass from Joe Flacco. The refs drop a flag that even the replacement refs would have known to throw and the Lions win.
Still, the Lions overcame drops, penalties (or the lack there of), and interceptions by keeping the Ravens out of the end zone and throwing a game winning touchdown to Joseph Fauria at the end of the fourth. Oh, wait…
Justin Tucker, the only scoring member of Baltimore’s team all night, has to make an unlikely 61-yard field goal attempt. He misses, the Lions win. But, like Tom Dempsey’s historic 63-yard field goal to beat the Lions in 1970, Justin Tucker makes it and delivers to his team a miraculous win over Detroit.
If I weren’t already ill, it would have made me sick to my stomach.
With that, the Lions drop from 1st to 3rd in the NFC North with only two weeks left. Since the Bears and Packers play each other in the final week, one of the teams ahead of the Lions is guaranteed a win there (with the highly unlikely exception of a tie).
But it’s not over, Detroit!
There are three possible ways the Lions could still win the division, which I’ve ranked in order of most to least likely of happening. All scenarios require the Lions to win their last two games as well as other teams helping them out (and I’m ignoring the possibility of games ending in ties).
1 – Eagles beat Bears then Bears beat Packers; Lions beat Giants and Vikings.
The Bears have to travel to Philadelphia and face one of the best rushers in the league in LeSean McCoy. The Bears’ rush defense isn’t very good. They could easily lose this game before getting to face Green Bay in Chicago. If the Bears can win at Lambeau, they could win this one at home.
2 – Steelers beat Packers then Packers beat Bears; Lions beat Giants and Vikings.
The Steelers going to Lambeau Field and beating the Packers is not as likely as the Eagles beating the Bears in Philadelphia. However, Ben Roethlisberger shouldn’t be underestimated and Matt Flynn couldn’t have done what he did Sunday against any team other than the Cowboys. And it’s just possible Aaron Rodgers could be back for that final showdown in Chi-Town while we probably won’t be seeing him play this upcoming Sunday.
3 – Steelers beat Packers and Eagles beat Bears; Lions beat Giants and Vikings.
I ranked this as least likely out of the three scenarios because it would require an awful lot of things to go Detroit’s way in one week. Still, it’s possible and I’ll be rooting for this outcome.
Each day as Sunday’s been getting closer, I’ve been getting healthier. If getting sick for Week 15 was a bad omen, maybe getting healthy for Week 16 is a good one. Saying my health affects the outcome of games sounds crazier than a Bud Light commercial, but it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work…