ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions are, get this, playing for the top record in the NFC on Sunday when they face current top-spot holder Arizona on Sunday.
Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season? The playoffs and more appear to be a distinct possibility for Detroit and we discuss what is going on with the team right now in this week's Lions Mailbag. To ask a question of the Mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at email@example.com or drop by my Facebook page to ask the question.
Now onto this week's queries.
— Joshua Travis (@boomshaka9) November 14, 2014
@mikerothstein: Yes and no. I think the way the Lions are using it now is smart. It offers a faster change of pace during the typical hurry-up, two-minute situations and that can throw defenses back a little bit. The main reason the hurry up wouldn't really work with the Lions, in my opinion, is how much they can formationally substitute on a single play. You might see anywhere from two-to-four different players on the field per play and going no-huddle in that situation will just lead to errors. When Detroit has used no-huddle late in games, it has typically kept the same personnel on the field throughout, save a running back switch or two. That's why I would avoid it.
— rick sanchez (@Rick_Sanchezez) November 14, 2014
@mikerothstein: Hey, this question has more relevance now! It would appear that the Lions will have their full complement of tight ends Sunday for the first time since the end of September, so there shouldn't be any mixing or matching going on just to find the right personnel. That said -- and this is just a guess -- but I'd say Joseph Fauria is going to have the most receptions for the Lions tight end group Sunday. With Fauria and Eric Ebron back, Brandon Pettigrew heads back to more of a blocking role. Ebron is still learning as a rookie and Fauria provides that tough height matchup that could cause issues for Arizona. Just a wild guess on stat line, but let's say four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown for Fauria and three for 35 for Ebron.
— Brandon (@bfulk80) November 14, 2014
@mikerothstein: As good as Moore was throughout his Lions career, probably not. His 670 catches don't put him in the top 20 in NFL history. His 9,174 yards won't either. Keep in mind Calvin Johnson -- who is a future Hall of Famer -- has closed in or passed all of Moore's records in less than eight seasons while Moore played 11 in Detroit. Plus, Moore plays a position that has exploded over the years, so his numbers will continue to be dwarfed. Moore was an excellent receiver for the Lions and belongs in the Hall of Great, but probably not in the Hall of Fame. This story in FiveThirtyEight illustrates the issue for Moore all too well. Look at the other guys -- many of them Moore's contemporaries -- and his numbers just don't measure up.
— Steven Mallett (@Steven_Mallett) November 13, 2014
@mikerothstein: Yes. I'm of the belief -- and I've said this on the radio this week -- that the Lions can beat anyone they play if they are playing the game in Detroit. Away from Ford Field, though, is entirely different. No matter what happens in the desert on Sunday, I still will be picking New England and Green Bay to beat the Lions in the regular season when they travel to Massachusetts and Wisconsin. The only thing that would change my mind there would be injuries. Don't know if the Lions could win in New Orleans in the playoffs, either. Or Seattle, if they had to go there.
— Jeremy Slone (@sloney4) November 13, 2014
@mikerothstein: I do. Even though he hasn't been playing quite to the level of his rookie year, Larry Warford has been Detroit's best lineman this season. He's been really strong in pass protection and decent enough against the run. Plus, he has a very good chemistry with both right tackle LaAdrian Waddle and center Dominic Raiola. They trust him. Travis Swanson is a rookie -- and while the Lions are very high on him, there will be a learning curve here. It doesn't help that Swanson gets Arizona, New England and a good Chicago front four in his first three likely starts. Quite the NFL introduction.
— Ryan Terpstra (@trc_terpstra) November 14, 2014
@mikerothstein: Sure, why not, although so much can change in the NFL between now and that last week in December. Take last year as an example. Now, this team is built a lot differently, both mentally and depth-wise, than the 2013 version of Detroit that skidded into the abyss of no playoffs over the season's final two months. But this is a difficult stretch coming up for Detroit. Go 3-0 or 2-1 in it and the Lions are legit contenders for the NFC crown. Go 1-2 and they still look good. Being winless the rest of November would be a bad look, but they'd still have time to rebound.