During the Week following the Detroit Lions Week 8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, news broke that Golden Tate had been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Some defended the trade (including me) noting the Lions were pretenders rather than contenders and that Tate was going to be too expensive to give a contract extension. Others absolutely bashed Bob Quinn and the Lions for giving up on the 2018 season, noting that trading Tate took them out of contention. Many of those same people still claim that the season would have been different if Tate had remained a Lion rather then going to the Eagles.
Well, I figured it would be fun to take a look at what would have happened if Tate would have never been traded.
We will start with the Lions sitting at 3-4 heading into Week 9.
Week 9 @ Minnesota Vikings
Actual Result: Vikings 24 Lions 9
Even with Golden Tate, the Lions would have been dominated by the Vikings, but let’s say that one of Matt Prater’s three field goals would have been a touchdown instead.
Vikings 24 Lions 13
Week 10 @ Chicago Bears
Actual Result: Bears 34 Lions 22
This game was over by halftime and it would have been over by halftime with Golden Tate in the lineup.
Bears 34 Lions 24
Week 11 vs. Carolina Panthers
Actual Result: Lions 20 Panthers 19
Well, since the Lions won without Tate, I will assume they would win with him.
Lions 23 Panthers 17
Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears
Actual Score: Bears 23 Lions 16
This game was actually tied up late, that is until Matthew Stafford threw a pick-6 to give the Bears the win. Even with Tate, I just cannot see the Lions finding a way to score much more against a very good Bears defense.
Bears 20 Lions 17
Week 13 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Actual Score: Rams 30 Lions 16
The Lions hung around as long as they could against a solid Rams team and that is all they would have been able to do with Tate in the lineup.
Rams 31 Lions 20
Week 14 @ Arizona Cardinals
Actual Score: Lions 17 Cardinals 3
Win without Tate, win with him.
Lions 20 Cardinals 3
Week 15 @ Buffalo Bills
Actual Score: Bills 14 Lions 13
With Golden Tate, I sure as hell hope the Lions would beat the Buffalo Bills.
Lions 20 Bills 13
Week 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Actual Score: Vikings 27 Lions 9
No chance, with or without Tate.
Vikings 27 Lions 13
Week 17 @ Green Bay Packers
Actual Score: Lions 31 Packers 0
Like before, win without Tate, I assume they win with him.
So, as you can see, IN MY OPINION, even if the Detroit Lions had not traded Golden Tate, I believe they would have finished with just one more win, putting them at 7-9 and still out of the NFL Playoffs. Heck, even if I would give them one additional win, 8-8 would not have been enough to keep them playing into January.
Bob Quinn made the right move by trading Golden Tate, that is a fact!