Wednesday Breakfast with Tim and Mike: How big of a week is this for the Lions?

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Grab a cup of coffee and read Tim and Mike's back-and-forth regarding the Lions' playoff hopes and this weekend's match-up at Philadelphia.

Tim: It’s a big week. The Lions are coming off the bye week and should get a huge emotional boost with the return of safety Louis Delmas. A loss to the Eagles Sunday would be a deflating blow to a team that’s already carrying around a bit of a bruised ego.

The Lions can’t afford to be 1-4 heading into the Monday Night game against the Bears in Chicago - a game I think will be more difficult to win than the Eagles game on Sunday.

Mike: In a word, it’s huge, and not because of morale or emotion or any of those issues. It’s math – wins and losses – and three games already have ended in the loss column. Minnesota and Chicago are 4-1 to tie for first place in the North, and the other teams – Lions and Packers – can’t let them pad their advantage.

A loss Sunday wouldn’t kill the Lions’ playoff chances, but it would be a critical wound.

Where do you see a possible turn-around?

Tim: Getting safety Louis Delmas back is the quickest way to turn around some of the Lions’ fortunes on defense. I think the Lions are a completely different team on defense with Delmas. Just like I think they are a completely different team on offense with Jahvid Best.

Delmas’ speed is a difference-maker in the back end. He gets places in a hurry and cleans up the mess when he gets there. I think that’s a much-improved unit if he can play Sunday.

So I think the defense will be better with Delmas. What about the offense, Mike? How are they better coming out of the bye week?

Mike: There weren’t any real health issues on offense. If it plays up to its capabilities it will be fine. It doesn’t need new players or a new system, but some things need to be cleaned up, and dropped passes is at the top of the list.

Every team is going to drop balls. When they happen is what matters, and in the last game a drop in the end zone by Brandon Pettigrew and a drop on the sideline by Titus Young were big plays.

For Sunday in Philly, isn’t there more worry about defense and special teams?

Tim: Special teams for sure, especially with a player like DeSean Jackson back there returning punts. Fans are likely to perk up in their seats a little bit during that first punt on Sunday. We'll see what kind of changes the Lions made on special teams, if they made any at all.

I don’t really think the defense has been a big issue. Take away the six non-defensive scoring touchdowns and the Lions are in the top 10 in scoring defense. They are ninth in yards allowed. Now they get Delmas back. They certainly need to pressure the quarterback more and they need to quit with some of the bad penalties, but they’ve done enough to win games, in my opinion.

What do the Lions need to do these next four games to keep their playoff hopes alive?

Mike: Win games is the easy answer on what they need to do, and it’s the only answer.

Michael Vick will give the defense a chance to create turnovers. That’s been a weakness of the defense.

The offense has to do a better job of dictating tempo. It has to find a way to use Calvin Johnson the way it wants to, and not settle so often for what the defense gives it.

If the Lions go 2-2 in the next four games, they’ll be in the race, even though 3-1 would be better. Anything less than 2-2 would put them on the critical list.