When I saw that the Vikings were playing the Lions today in Detroit right after Detroit got whacked 10 days ago, it actually scared me to death.
Let me explain. The Lions had dropped their first 12 games and you'd think playing them would be a piece of cake. The Vikings had a big win last Sunday night over Chicago to gain control of the NFC North lead. With all the hubbub over the suspensions of Kevin and Pat Williams (and the subsequent blocking of the them by a federal judge), I really feared a letdown. (Both players did play.)
And the law of averages says the Lions will beat somebody this season, as no NFL team has lost every regular season game since they went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
And, back in 2001, the Lions were 0-12 and beat the Vikings in Detroit, 27-24. So I wasn't terribly confident about this game.
Sure enough, the Vikings came out flat on Sunday, as Detroit scored field goals on two drives to jump out, 6-0. The Vikings were hit with four offsides penalties in those drives. Gus Frerotte had nothing, and threw two interceptions in the first half. As it was winding down, Frerotte suffered a lower back injury and left the game, not to return. He was no great shakes anyway, so backup Tarvaris Jackson (pictured) came in.
Oh boy, are the Vikings really going to lose again to a winless Lions team in their 13th game of the season? I didn't have a good feeling about seeing Jackson in the game.
Jackson, who had taken few reps in practice, actually looked pretty good. He went 8-for-10 for 105 yards and a TD. The Vikings were down 13-10 going into the fourth quarter, but Jackson his Visanthe Shiancoe to put the Vikings up, 17-13. Detroit came back with a FG with just over 5 minutes to play. The Vikings managed to run the clock down to 22 seconds before Ryan Longwell iced the game with a 50-yard FG, 20-16.
The game also featured an altercation between Vikings LB Napoleon Harris and Lions RB Moran Norris, and Norris was tossed out after taking a swing at Harris. One play earlier, Jared Allen was cut down on a cheap block at the knee thrown by Lions tackle Gosder Cherilus, and he wanted a piece of Cherilus, but had to be held back by his teammates.
The Vikings are now 8-5, and with Chicago's win over Jacksonville, they still have a one game lead over them. Next week they go to Arizona, and play the Cardinals, who wrapped up the NFC West today with a win over the Rams.
I still think the Lions will not go winless. They have played teams tough despite the 13 losses, and have had second half leads in many of them. They have the Colts, Saints and Packers left on their schedule. That's tough, but I still think they'll pull one of them out.