Lions Must Seize Unique Chance to Win Division

ALLEN PARK - A look around the NFC North this morning reveals the reason why I'm not off my rocker for picking the Lions to win the division.

EXHIBIT A: WASHINGTON 9 - CHICAGO 7
All it took was three lousy field goals by the Redskins to knock off the Bears and that's something Jason Hanson can do with his left leg. It's not so much that the Bears are bad, it's the fact that they've lost their franchise quarterback, Rex Grossman for the season again and they have to start a rookie, former Purdue star Kyle Orton (15-for-28, for 141 yards and an interception, 52.8 rating). That's a recipe for disaster. With Thomas Jones rushing for just 31 yards on ten carries and Cedric Benson, the team's first round pick, rushing for just 10 yards on three touches. Despite fielding a stellar defense, if you can't score, you can't win. Lovie Smith's head is likely to be on the chopping block when the Bears finish 5-11.

EXHIBIT B: TAMPA BAY 24 - MINNESOTA 13
Did the Vikings really believe that they would be better without Randy Moss? Moss gets the bad rap for all his antics, but when the lights come on, he's still one of the best receivers in football. So how did the Vikings new receiving trio, including first round pick Troy Williamson fare? Nate Burleson had three catches for 45 yards, Travis Taylor three for 38 yards and Williamson zero catches. Daunte Culpepper's numbers? 22-of-33 for 233 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions. QB rating 49.2. Don't believe the hype about this team.

EXHIBIT C: DETROIT 17 - GREEN BAY 3
If ever there was a sign that there was a changing of the guard, it was yesterday. Brett Favre has done it for so long and to so many teams that people are fearful to ever say he's done. But I'll say it. He's done. Favre looked old and tired and for good reason. Favre lost his father last season, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and his hometown of Kiln, MS was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.

Favre also has to be feeling at least a little guilt for cajoling Javon Walker, who was holding out for a better contract, into camp. Walker is likely gone for the year after suffering a torn ACL yesterday against Detroit and who knows if he'll ever play at the level he was playing at again? Meanwhile Detroit's swarming young defense shutdown the Packers offense and Joey Harrington found two new targets, Marcus Pollard (five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown) and Mike Williams (one catch for three yards and a touchdown).

Meanwhile it was Joey Harrington going 15-of-28 for 167 and two touchdowns (95.4 passer rating).

Detroit is on top of division after week one and is likely to stay there all season.


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