The playoffs grow closer and boy howdy do the New Jersey Giants have a BIG game with the Lions from Johnny's hometown of Detroit in the rain today at the new Meadowlands. Not often the Lions get out this way. Even less often leading a division by two games with three to play. The Lions last division title was back in 1993 when Scott Mitchell, Herman Moore, Barry Sanders and Johnny Morton led the Lions. Most Lions fans Johnny knows are expecting them to crash out and lose to the G-Men, Cowboys, and Packers at the end of the year and blow it. Somewhat new ground for the Motor City Kitties as they come east.
First off, if you had both the Lions and Giants and 9-4 when they played this game at the beginning of the year raise your hand.
So, in the rain can the Lions running game, resurgent of late, move the ball on the ground and take pressure off Matthew Stafford's injured throwing hand? Despite what the Lions say it IS a big deal. The Bears only had a chance last week because Stafford got picked twice on throws into the flat that had nothing on them. With a wet ball can Stafford distribute it around like he wants and needs to, to the Lions better than average wideouts. There's your ballgame. Can the Giants force the Lions to pass. While neither team tears up the league in offense, (the Lions are 21st and the Giants at 27) both teams do hold onto the ball. Giants average 27 minutes a game while the Lions check in at just over 30 minutes a game with the football. Both QB's will take their shots downfield but a more conservative gameplan will be the order of the day in the rain.
This game will have a playoff feel to it no doubt. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives, the Giants to keep pace with everyone in the NFC East and the Lions to keep ahead of Green Bay and realizing no wildcards are coming out of the NFC North. It should be a conservative game for the most part and yes, wet weather can make a quick hash out of a prediction. That being said this game smells like one played with a score in the teens or low 20's. If that's the case, and with the Lions seeming invincibility late when they need it AND the fact Matt Prater is the kind of kicker who can make long field goals when needed, here we go...
Detroit Lions 19
New Jersey Giants 17