But despite the turmoil in Detroit with the firing of president Matt Millen last week, the Lions seem relatively upbeat and ready to prove something against the Bears this Sunday at Ford Field.
"We want to prove to ourselves - nobody else - what type of team we are," coach Rod Marinelli said. "And internally, that's when it really does mean something. We know we're capable of doing better, and I think inside, internally, for each man, that's something they're looking at. And we've got to go out and just do it now. We can't talk about it. We've got to go do it."
Bears coach Lovie Smith knows Marinelli well. They broke into the NFL together as Tampa Bay assistants in 1996. They shared the same little hotel room in the beginning and became close friends.
Asked what he expected from the Lions, he replied: "What do I expect from a Rod Marinelli-coached football team? Is that what you asked? I expect them to come out, play hard every down and that's about all you can ask from your ball club. ...
"I know what their record says right now. But we're talking about a team that swept us last year, so it should be a heck of a football game."
The Lions did sweep the Bears last year. But if they have any hope of sweeping them this year, they're going to have to make some major changes - not so much in approach, but in execution. They can't let their frustration get to them.
"Hopefully you take the frustration and you put it into fundamentals and execution and knowledge and preparation and then carry it into Sunday," Marinelli said. "If frustration goes the other way, you don't gain anything, to me. People in life get frustrated and they go haywire. I try to take the frustration and funnel it into what we do, our fundamentals. If we can get that done - and that's a goal - then we'll play really well."
The first quarter has been awful for the Lions. In their first two games, they fell behind, 21-0. In their third game, they fell behind, 21-3. The Bears jumped on Philadelphia with a no-huddle offense in the first half Sunday night, and the Lions must be prepared to see that.
"It's something we faced in the preseason, too," Marinelli said. "It's something you work on. The biggest thing is probably communication as much as anything."
The Lions need to be more aggressive on offense and defense to get off to a better start - throwing more often to wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams, blitzing when the four-man rush doesn't work.
The defense simply has not made enough plays, with only three sacks and zero interceptions.
"We've got to be able to get the rush and finish the plays off and contain a little bit better," Marinelli said. "We're a step slow right now. We're a step off or a step away - however you phrase that - to making these plays, and we've have to make these plays."
Bears quarterback Kyle Orton has been sacked 10 times and thrown four interceptions - two in each of his past two games.
"I think he's doing a nice job of working within the system," Marinelli said. "He's done a heck of a job of managing the game. He's smart with the ball. He's got a nice arm. He's got some nice weapons out there. I think he's doing exactly what Lovie wants him to do."
Lions FB Jerome Felton vs. Bears LB Brian Urlacher: Felton is 6-0 and 246 pounds, while Urlacher is 6-4 and 258. The matchup between Urlacher and former Lions fullback Cory Schlesinger used to be a classic. The collisions cost Schlesinger many a face mask. Now it's Felton's job to go against Urlacher - and Lance Briggs, too - as the Lions try to raise their running game from second-worst in the NFL.
Lions pass defense vs. Bears QB Kyle Orton: The Lions have three sacks and zero interceptions. But Orton has been sacked 10 times and has thrown four interceptions - two in each of his past two games. The Lions simply have not made enough plays on defense. They have lost three games to teams with a quarterback who had never started an NFL regular-season game before this season. Orton is a more stationary target in the pocket. They have to put pressure on him and make plays on the ball.