Lions, Dolphins Exposed as Frauds

On the eve of their season opener against the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Lions, coming off their first winning season in six years and whose running game both ranked in the top half of the league and finished above the league average in average yards rushing per game for the first time since Barry Sanders retired in 1998, were favored to win their first division title since 1993.

And after they upset the Chiefs 21-20, their hype train roared out of the station.

But that hype train wrecked big time on Sunday, when they were utterly dismantled 38-6 in Baltimore.

Of course one could make an excuse for the loss, considering the facts that it extended their losing streak to the Ravens to five games, and they haven't beaten "The Modell Franchise" (Art Modell had purchased "Cleveland 1.0" in 1961) since 1970, when a loaf of bread cost 25 cents and a gallon of gasoline went for 36 cents.

Worse yet, during that losing streak, Detroit has been outscored 167-62 by Baltimore — and dating all the way back to the first year of the disastrous Matt Millen Era (2001), the Lions are now 33-76-2 on natural grass, and 40-95-1 outdoors.

What did Lynn Swann once say about a "stupefying jinx?" (Swann was referring to the Browns having gone winless in their first 16 games at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium).

Seven hours later, the Miami Dolphins, 5-1 after having won five games against teams with a combined record of 8-25, started their game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Entering the game leading the entire NFL across the board — in total offense, rushing offense, and passing offense — they managed just 244 yards in a 31-17 loss.

(The Eagles, for their part, have held their last three opponents, and four of their last five, to less than 250 yards of total offense — and don't bet against them making it their last four and five of their last six this coming week as they will be heading to Washington to take on the Commanders, who have allowed 40 sacks, the most in the NFL.)

Not only that, but 10 of the 17 points that the Dolphins scored were unearned — in that they scored 3 points off a Jalen Hurts fumble (whereupon they gained one net yard on their ensuing possession, forcing them to settle for a 40-yard Jason Sanders field goal) and 7 more on a Hurts interception that was returned for a touchdown by Miami linebacker Jerome Baker.

(In Week 4, the only other over-.500 team the Dolphins have faced so far this season, the Bills, blasted them 48-20 in Week 4.)

True, both teams will take huge class drops in Week 8, with the Lions hosting the mediocre (at best) Raiders, who are 8-43 since 2003 on artificial turf, in an underwhelming Monday nighter, while the Dolphins will be hosting the Patriots, who they have already beaten 24-17 at Foxboro on a Sunday night in Week 2.

But the proverbial damage has already been done as regards both teams.

Don't expect either team to make any kind of deep playoff run come January.

For both were exposed as frauds in Week 7.

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