The Detroit Lions are favored to win on Sunday at home against the Washington Commanders for the first time in 24 games and I am uncomfortable with this information.
Why am I uncomfortable you ask?
I'm uncomfortable because as a Lions fan. I am not accustomed to hope or success. And as they say, "it's the hope that kills you."
The Lions' Hibernation Has Been Well-Documented
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I want nothing more than to believe that these aren't the "Same Old Lions" that most fans have come to know. So, for as much as I want to hope that the Dan Campbell era in Detroit will be better, I am still terrified to be optimistic again and then have my hopes crushed again by Week 4 of the season. It's a scenario that Lions fans know all too well, and with each year that passes it hurts more and more.
The Lions lack of success has been well documented. Their last playoff appearance was in 2016 when they lost in the wild card round. They've done that two other times in the last decade with the exact same result in 2014 and 2011. Their last playoff win was in 1991 when they lost in the NFC championship game. Their last championship was in 1957 and they have never been to a Super Bowl.
Years of dysfunction of ownership and front office mismanagement has raised entire generations of luckless Lions fans and yet we still keep coming back for more. We pass on the Thanksgiving Tradition to our kids and set them up for disappointment all because we think that this may be the year that things change.
We have become numb to the lack of blown calls and of positive national media attention surrounding our team to the point that it is almost unwanted in a way. It's not coming just from analysts and anchors either but also current players. Reportedly, Lamar Jackson said that the Lions would be one of a few teams he'd be interested in if he and the Ravens aren't able to come to an agreement in the off-season. Of course I take this with the biggest grain of salt knowing all too well that Baltimore will likely just franchise tag him until they work something out, but it is fun to dream. Kansas City Chiefs superstar tight end Travis Kelce also had praise for Dan Campbell and the Lions on a recent episode of his podcast.
Forward Down the Field
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At the end of last season they were a team that no one was looking forward to seeing down the stretch as they started to put together some pieces and gain momentum and they picked up right where they left off in their close loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. So say what you will about these "Same Old Lions" but there is a roar that has been restored both in Ford Field and the city and its fans.
As for this week's matchup against the Washington Commanders they will be going up against one the franchises that might have an even worse legacy of dysfunction than they do. A team and front office that has been a dumpster fire as of late, amid scandals surrounding owner Dan Snyder, as well as being forced to change their racist team name. They have a superstar in Chase Young that could be a problem for a depleted Lions offensive line that had been at the top of the league rankings coming into the season but have already suffered injuries to center Frank Ragnow who will likely be out this week as well as losing guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai to season ending back surgery.
Overall, the Commanders don't have the options and variety of playmakers that the Lions do on offense. The Detroit defense is also looking to make a comeback and have more impressive starts from rookie Aidan Hutchinson, as well as a unit as a whole in 2022.
This game will likely get caught in the swell of 1 p.m. games that will garner more national attention, but if they're still hanging around during the witching hour, people might just see more out of them than they've come to expect.
After all, this might not be the "Same Old Lions" you've come to know.
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