Lions Try To Pay Back Niners


It probably goes without saying that Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh didn't exchange Christmas cards last year. The two were involved in a huge spat after the game between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers that included watching Schwartz literally chasing down Harbaugh for some heated words after the initially cold handshake between the two in the center of the field.

At the time, the Lions were a 5-0 team that hadn't tasted defeat, while the Niners were still that upstart 4-1 club that had really won a lot of games that they weren't perceived to have a chance in. Alas, it was Detroit's high flying offense that was held down to just 310 total yards on the day, and in the end, 10 points in the final two minutes of the game turned what looked to be a grim defeat into a season-changing victory for the 49ers at Ford Field.

And now, on the eve of the game between the two this year in San Francisco, it is clear that any NFL picks on the Detroit Lions are made knowing that they are going to come into Week 2 with a massive chip on their shoulders.

The game is about payback and vengeance on so many levels. Obviously, Detroit is going to want to stick up for its coach and remember the jumping up and down the Harbaugh did after the game was over with. It's about payback for the Lions' offensive line, which allowed five sacks, including a safety. It's about vengeance for Matt Stafford, who only completed 28-of-50 passes that day and is coming off of a terrible game against the St. Louis Rams last week. It's about getting revenge for this defensive line, which allowed Frank Gore to run all over it to the tune of 141 yards on just 15 carries last year.

This time around, it is San Francisco that looks like the world beating team after it went to the NFC Championship Game a year ago and just went out to Lambeau Field and beat the Green Bay Packers. And this time around, it is Detroit that is the 6.5-point underdog on the opening Week 2 NFL odds.

This time against the 49ers though, it is the Lions that are hoping to be able to claim some respect.