The anxiety of facing the Lions

With Week 2 of the NFL season upon us, the Minnesota Vikings travel to the Motor City to face the Detroit Lions.

The Lions became the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 last season, and so far Detroit is 0-1.

In anticipation of the NFL season a couple months back, I remember hopping online to see when my favorite team was scheduled to play the Lions. I doubt I was alone in doing so.

I wrote one of our section’s new-fangled mini-columns on the subject today. It’s hard to say there are must-win games this time of year, but no team wants to snap Detroit’s 18-game losing streak.

I’m not the type of guy who thinks a Week 2 loss could ruin a season, but losing to the Lions has as good of chance as any to do that. It’s the game no team wants to play in.

It’s a no-win situation, because even if you beat the Lions, expectations are so high that a team’s fan base probably won’t be satisfied with anything less than putting up six touchdown passes. That’s what the New Orleans Saints did to Detroit in Week 1.

I made the comment at work Saturday that these Lions could be worse than last year’s, simply because there’s a rookie at quarterback in a situation where a rookie QB can’t possibly succeed. That was probably an exaggeration considering that Dan Orlovsky started for Detroit last season, but still. They can’t be much better.

That’s not to say the Lions won’t win a game this year; I’m certain they’ll win at least one. Let’s not forget that a lot of things went horribly wrong for Detroit last year that led to a winless season, including two close losses to the Vikings (with Orlovsky’s famous safety play), at least one to the Bears, and a complete meltdown against the Packers. The Lions were actually leading Green Bay in the middle of the fourth quarter of a game, and somehow found a way to lose by like 20 points.

It’s an unenviable situation for the Vikings. I’m sure they’ll be more than satisfied to just get this game over with, because the scrutiny that comes with losing to the Lions would be a lot to overcome.

Anyway, enjoy your Sunday. I can’t wait to keep an eye on the Twins-Tigers game too.

Could you imagine if the Twins actually made the playoffs and ended up facing the Yankees in the first round without Justin Morneau? Jose Morales as an everyday DH? How about fielding the Matt Tolbert/Brian Buscher platoon at third base at Yankee Stadium? Brian Duensing matched up against CC Sabathia? Carl Pavano getting a chance at revenge against the Evil Empire? It’s like straight from the script of Major League, with Carlos Gomez starring as Willie "Mays" Hayes. How can you not root for that?

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