Lions battle for last place



The NFL season has one more week left as Week 17 is here. The Detroit Lions, otherwise known as the Kittens from the Mitten, close out their season against the Chicago Bears in Chi Town. The battle for last place in the division takes place as both teams’ records are 6-9. There is zero benefit to either team to win this game. The loser gets a better draft pick and a little easier opponent from another division on next year’s schedule.

I will say that the Lions have had a lot better second half of the season after the canning of a couple of coaches. Jim Bob Cooter, the offensive coordinator, has helped Matt Stafford’s play at quarterback. Stafford looks comfortable under center and is not forcing footballs downfield for interceptions. Cooter has also brought in more blocking help, so Stafford is not getting hit or sacked every third play.

The biggest question is, will the new general manager bring back Jim Caldwell? I also have to ask, has Caldwell done enough to secure his job for next season? I personally don’t like him. I think he is horrible with his calls on the field. His clock management skills are laughable. The number of times Detroit has 10 men on the field is atrocious.

The positive for Caldwell is that he kept this team from folding after the brutal start. The Lions keep playing hard on the field. The Devil’s advocate in me says that he put them in the hole to begin with. Is the glass half full or half empty? You decide. Let’s all exhale and agree another disappointing season is over for the same old Lions. Will the Lions ever remove that tag from their franchise? I doubt it, to be honest. The last great season is still 1957.

Maxed out on bowl games

The college bowl season is ripping and roaring through some 40-plus bowl games. This is overkill to the max and I love college football. How did Western and Central Michigan fare? Western Michigan won its bowl game 45-31 over Middle Tennessee State. It was the Broncos’ first-ever bowl win. The boys from Western Michigan rowed the boat for coach P. J. Fleck.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers took down Central Michigan 21-14 in a defensive battle. Central Michigan had the lead late in the game but could not hold on.

Going against Sparty

The Cotton Bowl is 8 p.m. Thursday with the Spartans and the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban has a ferocious defense with a front seven NFL teams would love to have. They also rotate guys in to keep them from wearing down. Alabama is second in the country in 3-and-outs behind only Clemson. The Tide also only allows 5.9 yards per pass attempt. Connor Cook needs to hook up with wide receiver Aaron Burbridge for some explosive plays. MSU cannot afford to let Alabama crowd the box for the run. The Spartan defense has one thing and one thing only to worry about: Stop Derrick Henry! The Spartans’ defense limited Ohio State and Iowa to 2.2 yards per carry and they will need those type of numbers on Thursday night. Alabama will keep feeding the football to Henry, you can bank on that. The cheeseball prediction: Tide Rolls 23 and Sparty Party Buzz Kill 16. I also like the Clemson Tigers in a close one over the Oklahoma Sooners. Clemson 31 and Oklahoma 28.

The Citrus Bowl has too overachieving teams in Michigan and Florida on New Year’s Day. This game will be all about tough defense and very little offense. Florida did give up 39 points in its last two games. Michigan also allowed a stunning 42 to Ohio State. The Prediction: Harbaugh Effect 20 and Gator shoes 16.

NFL Picks …
Buffalo + 3 over NY Jets
CAROLINA -10.5 over Tampa Bay
MIAMI + 11 over New Eng.
CINCINNATI – 7.5 over Baltimore
ATLANTA – 4 over New Orleans
Jacksonville + 6 over HOUSTON
CLEVELAND + 10 over Pittsburgh
Oakland + 7 over KAN. CITY
INDIANAPOLIS – 6 over Tennessee
DALLAS – 3 over Washington
CHICAGO – 1 over Detroit
N.Y. GIANTS – 3 over Philadelphia
GREEN BAY – 3.5 over Minnesota
San Diego + 9 over DENVER
St Louis – 3.5 overSAN FRAN.
Seattle + 7 over ARIZONA
Two weeks ago: 7-8-1 Season: 90-111-6

Best Bet: 8-5 Best bet: Cincinnati

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