Despair Not, The Lions Await

Alexander Mattison
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) runs the ball against Detroit Lions outside linebacker Jahlani Tavai (51) to score a touchdown during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of Parks & Rec will likely recall Leslie Knope’s consistent jokes about the residents of Eagleton. Pawnee’s ritzy neighbors provide comedic relief to Knope and her colleagues. Well, the Lions may be said to fulfill a similar role to the rest of the NFC North.

True, no one can say they’re rich like the Eagletonians. It’s not like they’re the Cowboys or Yankees. Instead, they’re a perpetually-pathetic team who never rises out of the NFL’s basement. Coaches come and go, and yet their incompetence remains. In a world so full of uncertainty and peril, the Detroit Lions at least provide some comfort and stability, especially to us Vikings fans.

At 0-4, the Lions are essentially out of the playoff race. They’re playing for the right to choose this year’s top-rated QB. One of their best defensive players, Romeo Okwara, has been lost for the season. Ditto for Jeffrey Okudah. Penei Sewell, a surefire OT who many believed was the draft’s best overall player, has struggled through his first four NFL games. Currently, Sewell is 55th in PFF‘s OT rankings. A date with Griff & Danielle won’t help.

Jared Goff had ideal circumstances in LA and was still a bad QB. Detroit is perhaps the least inspiring roster in the NFL. Kalif Raymond, Quintez Cephus, and Amon-Ra St. Brown lead their receiving corps. You’ll be forgiven if you don’t know any of them. Goff will thus be leaning on T.J. Hockenson, Jamaal Williams (underrated), and D’Andre Swift. If Zim can slow these three, it shouldn’t take too much to tame the Lions.

I know I made fun of the Bears for their one-yard performance against Cleveland, but they’re so far ahead of the Lions. Put simply, it’ll be a complete embarrassment if we drop our Week 5 game against Detroit. We’ve already lost several games we should have won. They’ll pale in comparison to a Week 5 meltdown, so let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

The worst thing a team can do is overlook an opponent. I’m not overlooking the Lions; on the contrary, I’m merely pointing out that it should be an easy win, one that takes us one step closer to respectability. My thinking is that we’ll have a chance to make the playoffs if we get into the bye at 3-3. That humble goal begins with a win this week.

So, don’t go too crazy with the expectations. Doing so inevitably leads to heartbreak. Let’s also avoid banishing hope. A date with the Lions is exactly what we need.