When you look at the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions, can you really put a gauge on what team is in worse shape right now? Of course the 0-8 Lions look like the worse team, but how about the Jags, who last week at one point were down 18 to the Bengals, and after coming back to get within two, couldn’t tie the game in the last minute on a two-point conversion and lost 21-19 to a team that had not won all year.
Now they take on the Lions, another team that has yet to win, but continues to play hard. They will likely have a new starter under center this week, as just signed Daunte Culpepper will get the call for the injured Dan Orlovsky. Culpepper has been anxious to sign with someone to give him a shot, and the Lions are just the team to do it. Last week they played a good game in Chicago, but, just like a lot of times this year, were not able to close out the Bears and lost 27-23.
Now they host the Jags, who have off the field issues as well. Jack Del Rio was so upset with LB Mike Peterson this week over posing after a sack down 18 Sunday, he sent the leader tackler home both Wednesday and Thursday and it’s a big unknown if he will play, or will even travel with the team to the Motor City. Him not being there is just another indication that Del Rio on some levels has lost this team already in 08.
So now can the Lions take advantage of it? Frankly, it will be fun to see if Culpepper, who had a good enough workout to get a two-year deal, can come back and show some of the form that made him one of the most dangerous players in the game just a few years ago. Look for Del Rio to send the house at the former Vikings, Dolphins and Raiders QB, and for them to try to rattle him early and often.
The Lions will need to run the ball, and play some sort of defense against both David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. They have week after week allowed way too many yards, and while they have had moments where they appear to be getting better, that usually goes backwards in a hurry and then the team makes a bad play to revert right back to where they were.
So can the Jags actually lose two straight weeks to a team without a win? No. They have enough talent, with or without Peterson to get it done on defense, and on offense, Garrard and the running game will put up 350-400 yards and the team for at least one week will be more like the team many thought would challenge in the AFC in 08.