Thanks to @PrideOfDetroit for joining us and answering our questions about this week’s Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions game.
1. The NFC North isn't doing too hot. I can't throw stones because I live in an AFC South glass house, but what have the Lions been doing well to prevent themselves from being worse than the underperforming Packers, Vikings, and Bears.
The Lions were able to reverse this curse of withering placed upon the division by an enraged voodoo queen, which is why they've gone 3-1 in the last four games while every other team in the division has 1-3. I'm not making this stat up, it's happening before our eyes, voodoo queens really don't like when you bother them about gumbo recipes.
In the absence of supernatural forces the best answer I can come up with is that the Lions have Matthew Stafford and those other teams do not. I fought against it for so long but I don't think it's safe anymore to fight against Stafford being good, and with Rodgers on a down year there's even talk that Stafford has taken the mantle of "best in the NFC North." It feels like crazy talk, it smells like crazy talk, and it tastes like Honolulu blue kool-aid. And yet, it ain't being said by me but by national folks. Maybe it's kneejerk bull, but when he's making drives with scant time left to keep the dream alive it's hard to say he's not the reason this team has a winning record.
So it's Stafford, plus the fact that everyone else is tripping up over their own extremities all around Detroit.
I hope this gumbo is worth it.
2. The Jaguars and Lions both have no run game. How does Detroit manage this problem effectively?
The Lions have a proud history of not managing their run game. Just swells right there in their breast. I don't know if there's been a premier or even competent workhorse back in Detroit since Barry Sanders himself. Ameer Abdullah could be that guy but he's on IR and there's nothing here that's worth a salt lick.
Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner are forgettable. That leaves Theo Riddick, who is far more dangerous as a receiving back than rushing up the middle. Fate has forced him to pick up unfamiliar territory for him and he's broken his career high for single run yardage a couple times this season. But really, it's remarkable how committed the Lions are to just not making a competent effort to "run the dang ball."
3. If you were the Jaguars coordinators, how would you gameplan against either side of the ball for the Lions?
Offense: Every team that's gotten down field on the Lions have realized there's absolutely nothing preventing plays over the middle. You got some tight ends? Cool, just pass it to them and watch the magic happen. There's absolutely nothing the Lions linebackers can do to stop you! Wide receivers, slot, right over the middle. Just dink and dunk that junk for seven, eight, ten yards at a time. Chew up clock, keep the ball, just goddamn true dinking and dunking hours. Maybe the Lions have DeAndre Levy back, but who cares, there's at least two other linebackers who look like they just came off the street and onto the field.
Defense: An uprising of the proletariat in righteous class struggle against the rotting forces of capital; they who offer nothing but the ability to drain, like vampires, the fruits of labor and make into more capital, which sits death-like, and lives only by sucking more living labor. A rejection of the hard slough towards extinction and annihilation and the chance to reclaim sovereignty over the lives of the workers, who shall control the means of production.
(Also, anticipation to stop the jet sweep and screen pass.)
4. Is there a Jaguars player on either side of the ball that you say, "If the Lions don't stop him, we're in trouble"?
This is a bad question to answer for a creature like myself who runs on fear and panic. Jalen Ramsey looks like a very bad man and I remember talking about him from the draft and he could probably take away either Golden Tate or Marvin Jones at a given moment. Can I be afraid of the kick returner? Honestly I think I should be afraid of one of y'all's receivers having a monster game against an awful defense but it's hard to tell which one right now given the whimsical nature of Detroit. Eddie Royal had a field day against us, and Eddie Royal's been on a milk carton for years.
5. Who wins on Sunday? The Lions are 6.5-point favorites, but is there any way the Jaguars don't Jaguar this up yet again?
The line at 6.5 would be a larger margin of victory than the Lions have had all season, a byproduct of pulling everything out of your ass like last second whizzing on tests. But if you think about it there's a 50% chance of anything happening, so my money is on everyone deciding they can wait a week to play this game or whatever and just skipping off for the bars. I could really use a drink to be honest.
BONUS: Who wins between Blake Bortles and Matthew Stafford in a bro-athlon (keg stands, dance competition with glowsticks, etc...)?
We are playing with dangerous territory here. When two forces of bro meet in this sort of fashion, the currents create a sort of testosterone depression, pulling in strong currents and kicking up dangerously high speed winds. Eventually, as they continue to attempt to out-bro one another, the electrical activity from the glowsticks and static is amplified and creates electromagnetic disturbances and intermittent thunderstorms. This tornabro, at its full height, usually ends up causing untold damage in Oklahoma and Texas.
I think I have to give the edge to Stafford though. Blake Bortles' ascension in bro-dom will be known when Colin Cowherd stops measuring skull shapes for five wretched minutes so he can tell us how Bortles will never be a leader as long as he wears his cap backwards.