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NFL Buy or Sell

   by ASA - 12/15/2008

BUY – Detroit Lions

Yes, you read it correctly. I’m buying the 0-14 Detroit Lions over the last two weeks of the season. They are still a “hard tryingâ€쳌 team that is doing everything in their power to make sure they don’t end the season with a big zero in the win column. The Lions definitely have not quit and it’s showing in the field with some very closely contested games vs. quality opponents in recent weeks.

Last week, with QB Dan Orlovsky back under center for the first time since November 2nd, Detroit game a very good Indianapolis team a run for their money on the road. The Lions were losing 21-10 at half time, but as I mentioned earlier, they did not quit. They battled back to tie the game at 21 early in the fourth quarter. The Cats lost by 10, however it was a one TD game with under 1:00 minute remaining in the game. A week earlier this team nearly upset Minnesota at home before falling 20-16.

Orlovsky, who is back from a thumb injury, completed 23 of his 34 pass attempts for 233 yards. Previous starter, Daunte Culpepper, was inactive with an injury and could be available this weekend. However, I would bet Orlovsky gets the start. When he has been the starter, he has led this team to some very close games which is progress for Detroit. Orlovsky has started five games this season for the Lions and every one has been decided by 8-points or less with the exception of last week’s Indy game which as I stated was closer than it looked. Those games were all against solid opponents including Chicago, Minnesota, Houston, Washington and Indianapolis.

Now the Lions face two teams to close out the season that have fallen out of playoff contention. That may mean they catch either New Orleans or Green Bay, or both, sleepwalking through their final games. Both teams expected much more this season and it will be tough to keep them interested in playing down the stretch, especially against Detroit. Sure there will the old “you don’t want to be the one to lose to the Lionsâ€쳌 argument, however will that be enough to put these two teams at the top of their games? I doubt it. The Lions have actually covered six of their last ten games and my bet is they get a win one of their last two games. Two covers are definitely not out of the question.

SELL – Green Bay Packers

I’ll admit, I whiffed on this team about a month ago calling for a “buyâ€쳌 at that time. In hindsight, their defense cannot be trusted and if that is the case, I needed to stay away from the Pack. It was a bad call on my part at the time. Now for a good call. Sell this team to end the season.

Green Bay expected much more this year and now after officially falling out of playoff contention last Sunday, this team is ready to shut it down for the season. The Packers are now 5-9 and they have lost six games by four points or less. Those close losses take their toll on a team and it finally came to a head last Sunday in their loss @ Jacksonville. During the game some of the defensive players were arguing on the field, on the sidelines and after the game. Defensive back Al Harris and linebacker Brady Poppinga got into a heated on field exchange early in the second half. QB Aaron Rodgers was calling out tight end Jermichael Finley for a miscommunication nearing halftime. Finley after the game said the mistake in the formation wasn’t his fault, all but blaming Rodgers. The in-fighting has begun in Green Bay and this team is going downhill fast.

The main problem with the Packers is there defense has been terrible down the stretch. They can’t stop anybody. In each of the last three weeks, the offense has scored late in the fourth quarter to give them the lead only to watch the defense give it right back. The defense has allowed the opposing team to score with 2:00 minutes or less remaining in the game to lose each of the last three to Carolina, Houston and Jacksonville. They are 24th in the NFL in overall defense and 26th versus the run. And I do know this, they are not going to get any better over the final two weeks of the season.

The Packers now face the Bears in Chicago which will be a tough task. First off, Chicago is still battling for a playoff spot. Secondly, the Bears most embarrassing loss this season was @ Green Bay a few weeks ago where they were dismantled 37-3. It was Chicago’s only loss of more than 10-points this season. They will be ready for some payback on Sunday. They catch the Packers on the road for the second straight week and with no playoffs on the horizon. A bad mix for the Green & Gold. After that they host a Detroit team that is still giving everything they have each week. I see the Packers struggling to cover from here on out.

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