The Lions have two tests coming up this week.
The first is obvious: How will they handle the 4-1 New York Giants in their game Sunday at the Meadowlands?
The second is more subtle: Do they have the short-term memory required of a rebuilding team experiencing ups and downs along the way.
In other words, will they be able to get themselves back into a competitive frame of mind after absorbing a 38-10 drubbing at the hands of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday?
They're saying that they can.
"I think people are making too big a deal out of it," quarterback Joey Harrington said, referring to the loss to the Packers. "We played terrible. That's it -- one game of 16. Green Bay played terrible last week, came back and put it to us.
"We're 3-2, obviously would have liked to be 4-1 coming into this week. But we're not and we're moving on. It's over, it's done with. We played bad. Let's go out next week and get one on the road."
Cornerback Dre' Bly echoed Harrington's sentiments.
"The key is to know that we have 11 more games," Bly said. "We have a lot more football to be played. We can't base our season off one game. We played bad last wee but that's not going to determine how we do this year.
"We forgot about it; now it's time to look forward to the Giants and try to come back and win. We're 2-0 on the road; hopefully the momentum will swing our way and we can get our third."
After victories at Chicago and Atlanta, a road win against the Giants would mark a major step forward for the team that came into the 2004 season with the NFL-record 24-game road losing streak.
But if they play as poorly as they did against the Packers, they can pretty well forget about making the "road warrior" statement.
Their chances of beating the Giants without any consistency in their offense is just about nil. And if they're no more effective pressuring Giants quarterback Kurt Warner than they were against Brett Favre of the Packers, they could be in line for another loss.
The best thing that could happen to the Lions this week is that they will get their two rookie playmakers -- wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones -- back from injuries.
With a couple more weapons, Harrington should be more effective moving the football. And the defenders are likely to be more effective if they don't spend 40 minutes on the field.
SERIES HISTORY: 38th meeting of the Lions and Giants. Although they are two of the NFL's oldest franchises, the Lions and Giants have played only 37 games. The Lions have a 19-17-1 lead in the series, but the Giants have won six of the last eight games and are 4-2 against the Lions in Giants Stadium.
Lions Focusing on Giants, Shrugging off Loss
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