Lions share of problems

The Lions have trouble at quarterback. Their offense isn't scoring. Their defense isn't stopping anybody. <P> Sounds a little bit like the Bears, huh?

Sunday's match-up between two of the league's worst teams, both 1-5 on the season, turns into a game that will decide which team gets out of the NFC North cellar.

The Lions replaced starting quarterback Joey Harrington last week after he was horrendous in a 38-7 loss to the Cowboys. Mike McMahon came in during the second half and finished the game, but first-year coach Steve Mariucci said Harrington is still his guy, even though the offense has scored just 59 points the last five games, after getting 42 in a Week 1 win over Arizona.

The Bears will go with Chris Chandler for the second straight game. The 38-year-old veteran wasn't lights-out against the Seahawks last week, but the offense was much more fluid with him instead of Kordell Stewart. Looking at the two teams, you see a lot of the same things. All bad, by the way, in this mirror-image showdown of two sputtering teams.

"Well, a win would cure a lot of what ails you, I guess," Mariucci said. "I try to stay fairly narrow-minded about it."

Detroit is looking for its first road win since Dec. 17, 2000 -- a 19-game losing streak.

"Anytime you lose football games there's going to be pressure. That's the NFL. That's any sport, any team that has games to play," Lions cornerback Dre' Bly said. "If you don't do well, you're going to struggle, you're going to face criticisms. People are going to talk. That's what they do. That's what we're used to hearing."

The good news for Bears fans is the Lions have a QB dilemma of their own. Even though Harrington will start, he was just 5 of 13 for 30 yards and two interceptions against Dallas, while McMahon went 5 of 20 for 51 yards, a pick and lost a fumble. The Bears have a mess of their own, a much older one, with Chandler and Stewart.

The Lions are 30th in total offense, the Bears are 31st. Detroit is 25th in passing offense, Chicago is 30th. The Lions are 28th in total defense, the Bears are 25th (and 31st against the run).

The Bears are banged up big-time, including leading rusher Anthony Thomas, who is nursing a foot injury. Receivers Marty Booker and Ahmad Merritt are out. The Lions won't have rookie wide receiver Charles Rogers (clavicle). This game wouldn't be pretty even if both teams were at full strength.

"It's hard to get a positive when you're losing. It's just hard to find them," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "For us, we've just got to focus everything we have on this game. As soon as we're done with a game, whether we win it or lose it, we leave it behind.

"We have to carry an attitude into this game. We have to do everything we can to win this game; there's not a lot of positives when you lose regardless. We're not playing to be close, that's not our game. We have to win games and then there'll be some positive. Once you start winning then the attitude is a lot better, guys are a lot more confident, but when you lose, it's a lousy week."


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