Almanac NFL: The 2023 Rodney Peete Cup – Week Fifteen

Greetings Tipsters


Writing wasn’t possible last week. Detroit Lions got done 28-13 by Chicago Bears. Bears is a terrible team and a Division rival. I plunged into deep depression, I read about Carolina Panthers, a truly awful team, to try and cheer myself up but it didn’t work.


It’s a funny thing, I’ve never had an emotional investment in a sports team like that I have in Lions. Maybe it’s the musical connection, John Lee Hooker, Motown, MC5, and so many more, maybe it’s the history of incompetence and ineptitude that leads quickly to “Oh no, not again” when anything goes slightly wrong in what has been a good season, for the most part.


Detroit was pretty wobbly weeks 11 to 14 but still managed to go 2/2. Trouble was, the Bears match displayed all of the wobbliness in one game. Nothing worked. The playcalling was terrible, the execution worse, interceptions and fumbles when we had the ball, missed tackles and blown coverage when we didn’t. So I wasn’t overly optimistic about facing Denver Broncos, who’d won six of the last seven.


Oh, me of little faith. We won 42-17. Everything clicked. We had our starting O-line all on the field together so Jared had time to nail his passes, including five touchdowns. Yeah, and four of them to rookies. Sure, the first quarter was scoreless but we had three TDs in the second. 21-0 at halftime.


The D-line harassed Russ, Broncos quarterback. And the stadium DJ did too, playing songs by his wife’s ex boyfriend during the pre-game warm-up. The D backs broke up passing plays. It was an impressive performance, the game you want to see when there are three weeks to go before the playoffs.


Two game against Division rivals Minnesota Vikings and, in between, a match in Dallas. Cowboys play great at home, lousy away, an NFC team so a win there would give us a good leg-up in the playoff seedings, which are based on wins against common opponents and all manner of arcane details.


Vikings have a backup to the backup QB and the players are, by now, thinking of the next contract andnot getting injured. Cowboys have a shot at the playoffs and may take the Division, given how Eagles have collapsed. Dak Prescott is a very mobile quarterback, Lions D struggles against his type. Dunno why, you’d think they would’ve figured it out by now.


We’ve a chance of making the Conference Championship game but the 49ers stand in the way and I can’t see any team stopping them from claiming the Lombardi trophy this season. The big issue for Lions is the quarterback.


Jared Goff is good. Rams took him #1 in the draft, he played a Superbowl, they lost 13-3, he had a big contract, McVay wanted Matthew Stafford so Rams gave us Jared and two first round draft picks for him. Matthew had dragged Lions around for a decade, he asked for a trade cos he couldn’t face another ‘rebuild’, he won a Superbowl twelve months later. He’d be the most banged up quarterback in the League now and he’s hauled the Rams to a better season than they deserve.


Lions have a super OC, Ben Johnson. Ben and Jared spent the off-season talking and designing an Offence that worked to the QB’s strengths. When the starting linemen, running backs and receivers are all on the field, it works beautifully. Jared’s a Top Ten quarterback, top 8 on a good day. 2024 is the last year of his contract and the cap hit is only $5M (which is not the same as salary, NFL salary cap rules and manipulations exist in a universe that would frustrate LHC mathematicians). He’s 30yrs, should reasonably expect $150M for three years.


But he’s about as quick on his feet as me, seems to get rattled a bit too easily, he aint the man you’d sacrifice yr salary cap for. A career best season would make him worth a first round pick. A lot of talented draftees will be signing big contracts in the next two years. Someone’s gonna get squeezed out.


Henson Hooker was a third round pick, 24yrs, had a great last college season before he did an ACL. He’s been rehabbing and in meetings, Lions put him on the active roster this week, an interesting move for a team aiming at playoffs. Maybe Teddy Bridgewater, the backup QB who announced his imminent retirement last week, will be cut.


Point is, Hendon must have been drafted as a potential replacement for Jared. He fits the age profile of the team, spares them $40M in salary, he’s quick on his feet. Ben will almost certainly take a Head Coach job next year, so there goes Jared’s greatest asset. And he’d be worth a first round pick.


Cheers Tipsters


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. A few years ago we saw “Dirty Dancing” in Spanish on stage in Cordoba. We were familiar with the story, and the colour and movement was engaging. Though not a word made sense to me.
    Much like NFL.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    That’s a neat comment, Peter. I get where you’re coming from.

  3. Cannot believe how deeply the Steelers’ season has fallen into a hole.

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