NFL 2011: 2 teams still undefeated after Week 5

11 10 2011
Jason Hanson

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The division rivalry at the NFC North is heating up as the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions remained perfect after 5 weeks of NFL action. The defending Super Bowl champions looked sharp in rallying against playoff contender Atlanta Falcons while the Lions beat the defending NFC North winner in Monday Night Football.

Here are the game recaps for each undefeated team:

Green Bay (5-0) 25 – 14 Atlanta (2-3)

The last time the two teams met was last year’s playoffs where the Green Bay Packers routed the Falcons on their way to their way to winning the Super Bowl. The Packers won again after being down 0-14 at the start of the game. The Packers started tentative in the red zone as their first 3 scores were courtesy of K Mason Crosby. The offense started humming at the end of the third and early in the 4th as Rodgers connected with James Jones and Greg Jennings to pull away from the struggling Falcons. Crosby capped the scoring with another FG with one minute left in the game.

Chicago (2-3) 13 – 24 Detroit (5-0)

The game is the first Monday Night Football game for the Lions in a decade and they faced a Bears looking to keep up with the NFC North leaders. 67,861 fans went to Ford Field, the second biggest ever crowd at Detroit. The fans were indeed a factor as they forced the Bears to several false starts. The Lions struck first with a 73 yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. The Bears answered with 10 straight points to lead at halftime 10-7. The 3rd quarter though belonged to the Lions, as Stafford connected with TE Brandon Pettigrew for a TD. Jahvid Best added a TD with a career high 88 yard run, the longest run for a Lions player since 1950. The defense then took care of the rest as they just held Chicago’s offense to just one field goal and pressuring Jay Cutler the whole time. The Bear’s offensive line was constantly beaten by an energized Lion’s defensive line. Jason Hanson made 300th game as a Lion memorable by capping the scoring with a 31 yard FG late in the final quarter. Hanson now holds the record for most games played with one team in the NFL. He has been a Lions fixture for 20 years.

What’s next for the 5-0 teams?

Green Bay Packers – The Packers will host Sam Bradford and the winless Rams at Lambeau field. 6-0 is definitely reachable unless the bye week helped the Rams turn their fortunes this season. The 0-4 has never scored over 16 points this season and they have the worst run defense in the 2011 NFL. If the Rams win, I am sure those who bet for them in Vegas will be instantly rich.

Detroit Lions – the Lions will have a shorter break this week as they host a game against the equally surprising San Francisco 49ers (4-1) on Sunday. The Niner’s loss this season was against Lion’s victim Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The 49ers routed another Detroit victim, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Week 5. A lot of experts are saying that the 49ers-Lions match-up will be the game to watch next weekend. A win by Detroit will truly send a message to the NFC about being real title contenders.

 





NFL 2011: Lions, Packers still undefeated

3 10 2011
ESPN.com picked Calvin Johnson as one of the 5...

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The 2 undefeated NFC North teams retained their spotless records in contrasting fashion.

Detroit 34 Dallas 30

The Detroit Lions were down 3-20 at the half and 3-27 in the 3rd Quarter before waking up and rallying to win 34-30 at the Cowboys Stadium. The Lions came back from a 20 point deficit last week to beat the Vikings and they top that today as they rallied from behind by 24 points. The Lions picked off 3 Tony Romo passes and returned 2 for a TD to start the amazing comeback. Afterwards, it was the Stafford to Johnson show. Matthew Stafford, a Dallas native, made a memorable homecoming by issuing 2 TD passes to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Jason Hanson also contributed a 51 yard field goal in the comeback. The 2 TDs made Calvin Johnson the first receiver to start the season with 4 consecutive 2-touchdown games.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said earlier this week that Dallas have 2 better receivers than Johnson in their line-up. In the first quarter, Dez Bryant was backing up what Ryan was boasting about but when the game was on the line, Calvin Johnson made Ryan pay for making a silly remark. The win made the Lions 4-0. They have an 8-gmae winning streak for the first time since 1954. The game also marked the largest lead blown by a Dallas team in history.

Denver 23 Green Bay 49

QB Aaron Rodgers accounted for 6 touchdowns (4 passing 2 rushing) to lead the undefeated Green Bay Packers to a rout of the Denver Broncos. Rodgers finished with 408 passing yards. The game was never close as the defending Super Bowl champs scored 14 points each in the first 3 quarters. The Packers are now 4-0 and they ties Detroit for the best record in the NFL and the NFC North.

It would be fun to see the 2 remain undefeated before their Thanksgiving match-up.





NFL 2011: 3 undefeated teams left after Week 3

27 09 2011
Buffalo Bills helmet

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Out of the seven undefeated teams after Week 2, only 3 managed to come out of Week 3 unscathed. The 3 are the surprising Buffalo Bills, the amazing defending Super Bowl Champs Green Bay Packers, and the streaking Detroit Lions.

Here are the game results of the previously unbeaten teams:

Washington Redskins (2-1) 16 – 18 Dallas Cowboys (2-1) – The Redskins lost for the first time this season. The Dallas Cowboys made 6 FGs  including the game winner by Dan Bailey with 1:47 left in the clock.

Green Bay Packers (3-0) 27 – 17 Chicago Bears (1-2) – Aaron Rodgers led the visiting Packers with 297 yards passing and 3 TDs in routing the Bears.

Detroit Lions (3-0) 26 – 23 OT Minnesota Vikings (0-3) – The Lions won for the first time in the Metrodome since 1997 after rallying from a 0-20 halftime deficit.

New England Patriots (2-1) 34 – 37 Buffalo Bills (3-0) – The battle of the undefeated went to the home team as the Bills intercepted 4 Tom Brady passes to win at the end of regulation with a Rian Lindell field goal.

New York Jets (2-1) 24 – 34 Oakland Raiders (2-1) – The Jets did not do well in their road opener as they allowed Darren McFadden to wreck havoc on the ground for 171 yards and 2 scores in a 34-24 victory by the Raiders.

Houston Texans (2-1) 33 – 40 New Orleans Saints (2-1) – The Texans allowed 3 Drew Brees TD passes and 2 2-point conversions in the 4th quarter, to allow the Saints to even up their records.

Here are what’s coming up for the remaining unbeaten teams:

Buffalo Bills – The Bills will visit the stingy Cincinnati Bengals (1-2). The Bengals who is ranked 5th in passing defense will try to stop QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who has thrown 9 TDs already this season.

Green Bay Packers – The Packers hosts a Broncos team that lost 2 games by just a field goal. The No.1 Rushing defense of the Packers will face the 27th ranked rushing attack of Denver.

Detroit Lions – The Lions will visit the Cowboys who recently gave the Redskins its first defeat of the season. The Cowboys Stadium will witness how QB Tony Romo try to handle the formidable front 4 of Detroit.

Only 1 AFC team is undefeated and there are 2 unbeaten teams in the NFC North. Let’s see who will remain perfect after week 4. Green Bay and Buffalo might have good chances to go to 4-0 but a Detroit victory in Dallas will mean a big shift of the balance of power in the NFC.





NFL 2011, Week 3: Two Surprising undefeated teams exorcise some past demons

26 09 2011
Buffalo Bills logo

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Week 3 Sunday is almost over in the National Football League (NFL). There are two undefeated teams that snapped long losing streaks against division rivals. The Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions beat the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings respectively to remain undefeated at 3-0.

The Bills snapped a 15 game losing streak against Tom Brady-led New England Patriots. Their last victory was in their season opener in 2003. Fast forward 8 years, the Pats scored the first 21 points in the game. At 6:01 left in the second quarter, the score was in favor of the Patriots 21-0. The Bills managed to score to ten points before halftime to cut the deficit to just 11 points. They eventually took the lead in the 4th quarter via a Drayton Florence pick 6 of  a Brady pass (he had 4 INTs in the game), 31-24. The Pats equalized with 3:25 left as fantasy stud Wes Welker grabbed his second TD of the game at 4th and goal at the Buffalo 6. Ryan Fitzpatrick (369 yds 2 TDs 2 INTs) led a drive that ended with Rian Lindell kicking a 28 yard field with 3 seconds left to win the game. It was the second straight 4th quarter win by the Bills and now they are the surprise leaders of the AFC East.

The Lions has not won in the Metrodome in Minneapolis since 1997. Only veteran kicker Jason Hanson was on that winning Lions team and the 13 teams that lost every year since then. The streak was likely to continue as the Vikings took a 20-0 lead at the half. The Vikings has lead at the half on the previous two games and end up losing in the second half. This game was no different as the Lions led by QB Matthew Stafford (378 yards 2TDs) and WR Calvin Johnson (7 rec 108 yds 2TDs) rallied to even take the lead at 23-20 with 2:30 left on the clock. The Vikings managed to even it up with 1:11 left with 49 yard FG by Ryan Longwell. The game went into overtime and Stafford connected with Johnson to set-up the game winning field goal by Jason Hanson (4/4 FGs 2/2 XPs). The Lions ties the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at 3-0 for the NFC North lead.

The 2 teams continued their surprising runs and many experts are noticing a slight change of the balance of power in the NFL. If they continue their good play, the teams will be on their way to their first postseason berths in the century.





2011 Favorite NFL Team: Detroit Lions

2 09 2011
Detroit Lions logo

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Record:

2010 6-10

2009 2-14

2008 0-16

Detroit is 3 years removed from an infamous winless season in 2008. In that year, they were 4-0 in the preseason only to falter in the games that matter. The 0-16 record gifted the team with the 2009 first pick overall and they used it in QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford was supposedly the savior QB for Detroit. He was the one anointed to break the curse of Bobby Layne who declared in 1958 that Detroit will not win in 50 years. Well, it’s year 53 now and man who was supposed to break the curse just came off a very good pre-season. If Stafford will be healthy throughout the 2011 season then Super Bowl in January for the Lions will not be a far-fetched dream.

After finishing 2009 with a 2-14 record, the Lions used the second over-all pick to get Ndamukong Suh. Suh, a defensive tackle, easily won the defensive rookie of the year and got a Pro-bowl nod.  He is an integral part in arguably the best defensive line in the NFL today. He is expected to be a menace to the opposing QBs and help continue Detroit’s unbeaten streak since the last few games of the 2010 season.

In the 2011 Draft, the Lions picked another dangerous defensive tackle in Nick Fairley. Although the rookie has been sidelined in the pre-season, he is expected to pair up with Suh to make up the most explosive DT tandem of all-time.

Who are the other players to watch:

WR Calvin Johnson – Megatron had a big year last year even if he played with 3 different QBs. With a healthy Stafford expect Johnson to have more spectacular plays on any given Sunday. If you think 2010 was a great year for him, 2011’s performance will definitely dwarf last year’s numbers.

DE Cliff Avril – He will definitely get multiple chances to make big plays this year as teams will have a hard time containing Detroit’s DTs. He could lead in sacks if he will play as intense as last year.

TE Brandon Pettigrew – Last year, he led the league dropped passes but nevertheless produced really good numbers. This year, Pettigrew could be a favorite target of Stafford as Detroit will continue to employ dominating 2-tight end sets. If he will have better hands this year then he can be a top-flight TE in the league and deserve his first round status.

Concerns:

Rushing – With the injury of Mikel Leshoure, the running game will again revolve around Jahvid Best who has not shown much in the preseason. The Lions signed Jerome Harrison to fill a spot at RB and to give the running game another look. An effective running game will definitely boost the stock of Matt Stafford and the Detroit receivers.

Blocking – After 2 straight years of seeing Stafford have a short season, the blocking unit needs to protect prized QB better this year. The 2010 figures were good but injuries during the preseason has not helped in preparing the No.1 line for the upcoming battles of the season.

Secondary – With the defensive line that they have, teams will be forced to pass and test the secondary that has been in the bottom of the league rankings in past few seasons. Many hope that this year, the potent front seven will help the CBs and the safeties improved their numbers.

Projection: 10-6 Wildcard berth; They will finish 2nd to Green Bay in the division (11-5)

This is probably the year that the curse will be broken if Stafford continues his amazing play and avoid injury the whole year. No team in the NFL would love to face the Lions. They are not as beatable as before and it can be dangerous for the QBs to face the 2011 Lions. The offense will be exciting to see and the defense is downright scary. There are still holes and rooms for improvement but in the salary-cap age, the 2011 Lions team is probably the best ever assembled by the Ford family since they bought the Lions.

The blog might be very optimistic but this outlook was written with a prayer that things can go well for Detroit that is suffering from a very long title drought.

Go LIONS!!!





Suh, Stafford, Johnson lead the Lions to its 2nd Victory

1 11 2010
Detroit Lions vs NY Giants NFL

Image by Bill Striffler via Flickr

For the second straight year, the Detroit Lions beat the Washington  Redskins. The game was marked with several lead changes and in the end, the Lions was on top 37-25 thanks to a fumble recovery touchdown by rookie DT Ndamukong Suh.

Matthew Stafford had 4 TDs(three to Calvin “Magatron” Johnson) and had only 1 INT. Suh finished 2 sacks and 1 TD. Calvin Johnson had 9 catches for 101 yards and 3 scores. Slowly the top picks in the previous drafts are showing how good they can be.

The defensive line dominated the trenches with 7 sacks. Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril had 2 apiece. The offensive line protected their franchise quarterback by allowing just 1 sack and no injuries to Stafford, who missed 5 games after getting injured in the season opener. Free Agent Alphonso Smith was able to get his 4th Interception.

In the Redskins side, the game ended with some drama and controversy when Coach Mike Shanahan pulled QB Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman with the team trailing 31-25 with less than 2 minutes to go.  Grossman fumbled the ball resulting to the Suh touchdown.

caloycomment: What’s in store for both teams in the next week.  Well for the Lions, they will face the Jets who laid an egg against the Packers.  The Lions will hope that their momentum can carry them to another victory. The Redskins is off to a bye week.  The ‘skins still have a pretty decent record at 4-4 especially in their division which mired with some inconsistent play.

The Lions are now 2-5, same as the Minnesota Vikings.  There is a big chance that the Vikings can be the bottom team of the NFC North if the Lions continue to win at home.





Finally, the Detroit Lions win!!!!

11 10 2010

 

Detroit Lions helmet

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it was almost a year since my favorite NFL Franchise won a regular season game.  The big networks were branding them as the best 0-4 team in the league after losing heartbreakers in the past 4 weeks.  Playing without their No.1 QB Matthew Stafford and their standout LB DeAndre Levy, they lost 3 of their first four games with a margin less than 1TD. Who can forget that bum call on Calvin Johnson against the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

Week 5 pitted the Detroit Lions against the St. Louis Rams led by this year’s No.1 pick Sam Bradford. The Rams came to town with big confidence coming from a 2 game win streak.  Peter King of CNNSI even branded this game as the toughest one to call this week.  After a 3-3 first quarter, the Lions suddenly roared to a big lead. They were led by their new returner Stefan Logan who scored on a 105 kickoff return in front of his proud parents. The special team unit showed how truly special they are after acquiring a playmaking returner.  Suddenly it was 24-6 by halftime with long drives led by Shaun Hill led to TD passes to CJ and TE Brandon Pettigrew.

The second half was an all-Lions show. Nate Burleson made his first TD catch as a Lion and drew a penalty by celebrating by punting the football into stands.  Then the defense showed it’s teeth.  Ndamokung Suh, the No.2 pick in the 2010 draft intercepted the pass of Bradford and returned it for 20 yards.  It’s been years since the fans saw a rookie DT makes a play reminding them of the huffing and puffing Shaun Rogers a few years ago.  Then to cap the scoring, Alphonso Smith (a Bronco reject) had a pick (in his 3rd straight game) and returned it to a TD.

It is a good day at Detroit and with the help of some kindhearted fans, the game was televised in local TV. Some call this win a validation, some call it an aberration but no matter how you call it, the game was amazing. It’s been years since all units scored and hopefully the momentum can carry the Lions against the formidable Giants next week.