It is a question that has plagued the NFL for years. Analysts, experts, coaches, and die-hard fans waste millions of hours per week trying to figure out whether the (nearly) undefeated Patriots could lose to the (completely) defeated Lions. I know this question seems very simple. Of course the undefeated Pats could handily beat the Lions. Some of you may be thinking I'm high or that this is a waste of time. Some of you are very smart. Nonetheless, I decided an answer needed to be found. Since I am a Jets fan and need to believe the "Any Given Sunday" type of bullshit, I had to know how long it would take the football Gods to shine their light upon Detroit. Using the top tier of scientific technologies, I have finally answered that question.
I began by going to whatifsports.com. A website where you can plug in any number of historic teams and players to have them play simulated games against each other. The website generates a boxscore for the game and a brief series of stats. /u/Llort2 gave me the link and I cannot stop playing with it. From making the "Best Players to Never Win a Super Bowl" vs "Worst to Ever Win a Super Bowl" to the "1941 Chicago Cardinals" vs "1999 Jaguars" in Giants Stadium, the website is very fun. I highly recommend checking it out. Anywho, I decided to set it up with the Patriots visiting the Lions because it was a little advantage to the lowly Lions and the domed stadium took weather out of play. I used the rosters as they were listed. The game is completely out of my hands once I hit submit so all stats, scores, and plays are computer generated. Before I give the game breakdowns I would like to share some overarching thoughts about the experiment. The simulations are not very advanced so I wouldn't put too much stock into this. It's a fun website and this was a fun experiment. They were incredibly repetitive and I took handwritten notes on every simulation I found interesting. I only discovered I could save boxscores late in the simulation so I only have a few real screenshots as proof, the rest are my notes.
|New England||Brady, Cassell, Matt Gutierrez||Sammy Morris, Maroney, Faulk||Moss, Welker, Gaffney||Watson|
|Detroit||Orlovsky, Kitna, Culpepper||Kevin Smith, Rudi Johnson||Megatron, Mike Furrey, Shaun McDonald||Michael Gaines, Sadness|
Clearly the Patriots roster is far superior. I had to list more full names on Detroit because I hadn't heard of many of them. I won't lie to you. These were slaughters. If you value Detroit Lions football, I am sorry and you should probably stop reading.
First 10 Games
Average Point Differential-- 30.8 in favor of Patriots
As it was expected, the Pats came out and hit very hard. Brady was masterful in game 3, throwing 6 TDs and only 1 INT. Detroit held its first lead at 10:34 in the first quarter of game 5. They led 3-0 off of Hanson's field goal. They ended up losing 45-6. Sammy Morris had three rushing TDs and 135 yards. Randy Moss put up 154 yards and 2 TDs a game later. Funnily enough, one of the closest simulations in the whole experiment was in game 10. The Pats won 35-25 and Detroit was up 19-7 going into the half. This was the only game Orlovsky outperformed Brady throwing 3 TD/0 INT to Brady's 2 TD/1 INT.
Average Point Differential-- 35.9
Closest game was 48-20. In game 12 three different players caught TDs and three different players ran for TDs on the Patriots. Games 14 through 16 were decided by the score of 41-7, 41-0, and 41-0 respectively. Dominance. Game 17 featured our first 4 INT game for Orlovsky. In game 20 Maroney and Morris ran for 100+YDS and 2 TDs.
Average point differential-- 36.4
More steamrolling for the Pats. Nothing spectacular to mention but Randy moss had 101 YDS and 3 TDs in game 26.
Oh.... and the Pats beat the Lions 77-10 in game 29. The Pats had the ball for 39 minutes and got to Orlovsky 6 times. Tom Brady threw an INT and less than 300 yards. Also 9 touch downs.
Average point differential-- 40.9
As you can see the Lions are not learning. They have gotten worse and it doesn't get much prettier. This series featured some very lopsided victories. Scores of 48-10, 48-9, 51-10, 52-3 and 52-7 were significant. In game 39 Welker caught 4 TDs, the first WR to do so. Game 40 saw Tom Brady go 28/29 for 322 YDS, 5 PaTD, and 1 RuTD. The most impressive game Brady had, in my opinion was in game 33. He led the team to a 70-7 romping going 27/32 for 399 YDS, 5 PaTD, and 2 RuTD. Welker caught 3 of those TDs and had 112 YDS.
Average point differential-- 36.8
Improvement!! Detroit had the lead in game 42 going into the half and were within 4 at the end of the third. They ended up losing 35-17. Game 44 featured a 62-3 blowout and Maroney had a great game 48 rushing for 146 YDS and 2 TD. Game 46 also featured a Lions lead at the half and they managed to hold onto the ball longer than the Pats for the first time. The game ended 41-20.
Average point differential-- 36.6
I start to realize this may be more lengthy than I initially thought. In game 53 the Pats had a great defensive game allowing 9 first downs and 175 total yards for a 54-0 shutout. Game 54 was a 15 point affair at 40-25. It featured a few firsts. The first safety, INT return for a TD, and 2 point conversion. Also the first multi-INT game for Brady.
Average point differential-- 33.9
More improvement from Detroit. I felt that we were going to get an upset soon. Game 62 featured 4 more INTs from the Lions. Junior Seau had a game for the ages with 2 INTs and a sack. We saw our first returned kickoff and missed extra point in game 63, both by New England. If you were wondering whether the game built in the coaching attitude along with the players, game 64 had your answer. Bill kicked a FG with 0:00 on the clock in the 4th quarter to put the Pats up 58-10 for good. It was a string of interesting games because game 65 ended 48-6 and the Patriots ran it in 6 times. Detroit lost by just 17 in game 68.
Average point differential-- 34.9
Orlovsky was injured late in game 72 so John Kitna came in for one play and threw an INT. The Patriots only scored 28 points, their lowest score to this point, in game 74. They held Detroit to 3 points. Game 76 was a 66-7 drubbing and Mike Vrabel had 3 sacks.
Average point differential-- 37.1
Game 81 was unusual. It ended 28-0 and the Pats defense played well allowing only 8 first downs and 178 total yards. The Pats only scored in quarters 2 and 4. Maroney ran it in 4 times in game 85, a 55-3 beat down. I began to get very very tired with the seemingly endless barrage of losing so I stopped caring as much. I wrote fewer highlights. For the next group I will do one highlights section for the next several sections but still do every ten for the point differential.
Games 91-100 Average point differential-- 35.1
Games 101-110 Average point differential-- 32.7
Games 111-120 Average point differential-- 38.0
Games 121-130 Average point differential-- 36.3
God fucking dammit. They were within 11 in game 128, losing 24-13. The Lions maintained a lead in that game up until 10:53 in the 4th. They led 24-21 going into the fourth fucking quarter in game 125 and lost 45-24. How do you guys do it? I can barely handle this much virtual disappointment. In game 100, Tom Brady threw 0 TDs for this first time. Brady also went down with injury in game 112 which brought in Matt Gutierrez. He promptly went 3/3 for 56 YDS and a TD. Game 95 was the best defensive showing for the Pats. They allowed 6 points, 6 first downs, and 124 total yards.
Games 131-140 Average point differential-- 34.8
Games 141-150 Average point differential-- 34.7
Games 151-160 Average point differential-- 36.6
Games 161-170 Average point differential-- 40.0
Uh oh. As you can see things were ugly in games 161-170. But we'll get there later. Game 134 was the best overall game with Detroit getting 24 first downs, more than the Patriots. Kevin Smith had the best game of his career with 2 TD and 184 YDS. The Lions lost 35-19. Moss caught 4 TDs in a 52-3 game 140. Detroit had a player of the game for the first time in game 150. Calvin Johnson had 101 TDS and 2 TDs in Detroit's 34-17 loss. I started fooling around with the depth chart in game 157. For shits and gigs, I put Gutierrez in as the starter for New England. Bill overruled me and Brady came in anyway. Tried to put Cassell in for the next game but the same thing happened so I gave up. Game 180 featured the worst kicking game I've seen. Gostowski missed an EXP and two FGs of 36 and 42 yards. In game 161 I made the switch to John Kitna to try and spark the Lions. He stormed out of the gate only losing by 14 in his first game. But, tragedy struck in the form of a 83-3 loss during game 165. Time of possession was 41-19 in favor of New England. The Pats allowed Detroit 105 total yards and 5 firsts. They ran for 331 yards. It was disgusting so I switched to Culpepper in game 166.
Games 171-180 Average points differential-- 43.4
Games 181-190 Average points differential-- 32.9
Games 191-200 Average points differential-- 34.3
Games 201-210 Average point differential-- 31.4
Games 211-220 Average pint differential-- 40.1
Junior Seau had a 2 INT/ 2 Sack game 175. Game 191 featured the closest loss so far, 24-17. After simulation 199 I had enough. I can declare right now that the 2007 Patriots will always beat the Lions. There's just no way the Pats will lose to them. So, moving forward I decided to see if there was even a chance the '08 Lions could beat the Patriots. I put in Matt Cassell for game 200. Bill still messed around and played Brady but it was limited. Game 204 saw all three Pats QBs throw a TD during a 42-6 win. Bill playing 12D Pick up Sticks.
Games 221-230 Average point differential-- 39.6
Games 231-240 Average point differential-- 37.2
Games 241-250 Average point differential-- 28.3
Games 251-260 Average point differential-- 28.9
If it wasn't obvious by the averages, I messed with the lineups some more. Around game 244 I just wanted to know if I could get the '07 Pats to lose on their worst day to the '08 Detroit lions. I replaced all the starters on offense. Matt Cassell, Chad Jackson, Troy Brown, Heath Evans, and Kyle Eckel led the way for the new New England Patriots. Maybe the bus crashed on the way to the stadium. Maybe they all got sick from eating Tom Brady's vitamin stew. Whatever suits your fantasy. Game 248 was the first tragic Pats game. The Lions lost 23-20. It was heart wrenching and the Pats gutted it out in OT. Some say it was the spirit of the missing players that was with them that day. The back-ups did very well replacing the starters and won 251-260 very handily. Detroit was really wearing on me going into game 260. I was getting pissed off. I mean, I was giving them the game! Then, on game 262.....
By a score of 24-23 the 2008 Detroit Lions beat the 2007 New England Patriots kindof
In-depth Game Recap
The Lions were down 17-20 going into the 4th. After 261 straight losses, morale was at an all time low. To be this close and lose again was just too much. Tom Brady was in for the Patriots after Cassell and Gutierrez had done their job. He quickly led them down the field but stalled at the 30 yard line. Gostowski kicks a field goal to put them up 23-17. The fan in the crowd falls silent. The Lions were going to lose again. Two more drives fall short for the Lions. The Patriots manage to run the clock down to 2:25. After the punt, Detroit and Dan Orlovsky have one chance for glory. Starting at their own 39, two run plays up the middle get one yard. Third down and nine yards to go. The fan is just beside himself now. As he tosses the rope over the rafter, Orlovsky hooks up with McDonald on a 21 yard play!! It's 1st and 10 at the Patriots 39. After the two minute warning and an incomplete pass, the Patriots commit a rare mental error, encroaching on the play. After two short plays, the Lions have it at the 31 and it's 4th down. Two yards to go. For the potential final play of the game they call a sweep to the left. Smith gained 4 yards and got the first!! Here they are. At the cusp of the red-zone. Orlovsky manages to hit an open Johnson out in the flat for a gain of 9. The Lions use their second time-out. They are at the Pats 18 with 54 seconds left. Coming out of the time out, the Lions figure if it worked once it will work again. Pas to Smith in the flat and he gains 8 yards, running out of bounds to end the play. Detroit may actually do this. With 49 seconds left, Orlovsky takes a sack for a 5 yard loss. It's happening again. Orlovsky gets flushed from the pocket, avoids the sack but runs out of bounds at the line of scrimmage. The fan stands on his seat, ready to leap. False start on Detroit, they're pushed back to the 20. Third and goal. Hope is lost. 23 seconds left. Orlovsky is in the shotgun and scans the field, looking for anyone. He scrambles out, makes a toss towards the endzone and it's CAUGHT!!! KEVIN SMITH CATCHES THE BALL AND FALLS INTO THE ENDZONE FOR A TOUCHDOWN!!!! There's 17 seconds left and the Detroit Lions make it a 24-23 game with the extra point. The fan goes wild!! With 11 seconds left, Tom Brady and the Patriots walk up to the ball at their own 37 needing a miracle. Brady drops back and IS SACKED BY DEWAYNE WHI.... wait a minute, there's a flag on the field. It's on Detroit..... defensive holding, automatic first down. With 5 seconds left, the Patriots make a last second heave into the endzone and it's.... KNOCKED DOWN!
THE DETROIT LIONS HAVE WON THE GAME
Final thoughts-- This was tedious. I hope you all enjoyed it and I can post screenshots if anyone wants proof. As for the detailed description at the end, that isn't made up. The simulator provides a play by play breakdown for every quarter. That is really how Detroit finally won.
Detroit from '08 can beat the greatest team we've seen but only if it's their backups.
Submitted July 13, 2017 at 10:33AM by the_fuzzy_stoner
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