Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Tap: Eagles at Lions

It's been a week since the "catch heard round the world," when Lions' receiver Calvin Johnson made a spectacular mid air catch and came down with it in the endzone with 24 seconds left to go against the Bears in Chicago. Only the play was ruled an incomplete pass on account of Johnson not "completing the process." Basically, the rule in the NFL is that if you complete the catch and then begin to turn around as though you are going to pick up more yardage, you have to hang on to the ball in the second phase of the catch.

The NFL has been embarrassed as they've been exposed the enormity of how poorly this rule was put together. When you have all the Bears' players and fans thinking that was a catch, you know it's a bad rule.

Apparently in the Canadian Football League, that play would've been ruled a catch. In the Arena Football League, it would've been a catch. In the NCAA, it's a catch. According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, it would've been a catch. Even the Lingerie Football League would've ruled it a catch. I know that, cos I'm in the union.

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Okay, getting back to this week, Detroit plays its first home game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams are going into the game without their starting quarterbacks as Detroit's Matthew Stafford is out indefinitely as well as Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb.

Because the Lions are without DE Cliff Avril, that makes their run defense more vulnerable to Michael Vick taking off and picking up 15 yards at any time. Although they get MLB DeAndre Levy and FS Louis Delmas, this defense might not hold up against Philadelphia.

The Lions will be without Stafford for probably another 3 weeks, unless his shoulder injury isn't as serious as we think. That leaves journeyman Shaun Hill, whose lifetime starting record is 10-6, to start. Hill's starting experience entails a full season, and 10-6 is a playoff caliber record. But Hill is a game manager. He won't torch the defense with his arm like Stafford can.

For the Lions to win, they need to get more production out of the running backs. Then they have to get Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson more involved in the passing game. Johnson saw the ball come his way only once in the first half of last week's game against the Bears. Not good enough.

Philadelphia is without their starting center and their O-Line is hurting. They're also without their starting MLB and their defense isn't the defense from their heyday in the mid aughts. This is also Michael Vick's first start since 2006, but he's been in Andy Reid's system for over a year, so he knows the playbook as good as anyone.

Final Score, Philadelphia takes it, 27-17.

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