The Detroit Lions need to set the tone for their season tonight

Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

 The Detroit Lions need to set the tone for the 2018 season in their game against the New York Jets.

This is a new era for the team. A single trade (Khalil Mack) dropped the Lions to number four in the NFC North in the eyes of the NFL’s talking heads. Like it or not, professional athletes are very ego driven. Dropping this game given the talent disparity shatters those egos.

Who would be to blame if they lost? If the players are better than it must be the coaching that has failed them. Matt Patricia has taken over from Jim Caldwell so that problem is supposed to be dealt with.

If nothing else, it can be said that Caldwell was a master in keeping his team unified through self-created adversity, until he wasn’t. When he lost the locker room, the team started coming apart late in 2017.

It would be potentially disastrous for the Lions to lose this game. This is a team looking to establish an identity. The old identity is one of a team that could handle lesser teams, but when they went up a weight class, got put back in its place. If the first half of that identity goes away, as it did late in 2017, then what is this group left with?

The Lions have endured a tougher training camp than the holdovers from the 2017 team were used to. Many of the key players from that team are gone, some left as recently as last week. Players are willing to endure a tough camp, well not Robert Ayers but most players are. They’re going to want to see results on game day though.

To continue the fighter analogy, the Lions under Jim Caldwell lacked heavy hands. Training under Jim Caldwell the team couldn’t knock anyone out. They could pepper their opponent with jabs, and they had an infinitely tough chin. They were rarely ever actually out of a game, but they also couldn’t finish off their opponents. They won decisions on the scorecard, every game came down to the last few minutes of the fourth quarter.

Coach Patricia was brought in to make them finishers. This should be a first-round knockout on the way to bigger and better things. However, any given Sunday anything can happen. The Lions need this one to come out the way that Vegas says it will. The Lions are seven-point favorites. You have to bet $266 to make $100 profit back.

Next. How the Lions can beat the Jets. dark

Under Caldwell, I would have bet against the Lions covering that spread all day. If this team is going to get better results than we’ve seen for the last two seasons, if they’re going to be the team Bob Quinn promised us, they need to be able to beat bad teams without breaking a sweat.