Unfortunately for the Lions, that's because the Titans lost to the Jets on Sunday. The Lions lost to Tampa Bay. So now it will just be the 10-1 ticked-off Tennessee Titans vs. the 0-11 Detroit Lions.
No one will be talking about the Titans possibly going undefeated. The big story will be about the Lions' possibility becoming the first ever to go 0-16.
Lions kicker Jason Hanson said it best.
"We've played so bad that we actually have something to play for now," Hanson said. "I hope everybody in the locker room is looking at it and saying we can't be those guys. Everybody should be nervous about it and angry about what we've done and take that fire to come out ...
"There is no way we can come out flat. I mean, whatever it takes. We should look like a playoff team just trying to get a win."
The Lions are 1-18 in their past 19 games. They are 31-92 since 2001. By both measures, this is the worst stretch in team history -- a history that includes only one playoff victory since the 1957 NFL championship.
"I cannot have any doubt with these guys," said Rod Marinelli, who is 10-33 as Lions coach. "I cannot hang a head. I can't even flinch. I've got to get home tonight, get up and get ready to go, and we've got to prepare. We've got three days to prepare for a Thanksgiving game. I owe these men every ounce of energy I have and more."
Marinelli remains upbeat and repeats his belief in his team. But he is fighting an uphill battle inside and outside of the locker room.
The losing and lack of hope has taken a toll. After selling out their first 50 games at Ford Field, the Lions have set three straight lows at the stadium. The announced attendance Sunday was 49,096, and again, the atmosphere was dead.
The Lions took a 17-0 first-quarter lead over the Bucs. But they blew it by allowing three second-quarter touchdowns and ended up blown out, 38-20.
"That's worse than frustrating," Hanson said. "It's embarrassing, and I know all the players feel like that. I'm not saying that about my teammates. It's hard as a kicker. I'm going to do my thing, and it's different from what the other guys are doing.
"When the other team turns it up, we're just not. It's happened time after time. We're not competing at the best moments, and that's how you get beat."
There is a total lack of confidence.
"One thing goes bad, and I think guys start thinking, 'Oh, no. Here we go again.' You kind of get that feeling," defensive tackle Shaun Cody said. "It's just how it is. It's hard to take. It's frustrating. ... No one's quitting. But we don't know how to win."
LINEUP WATCH: With the Lions trailing 35-17 midway through the third quarter, coach Rod Marinelli replaced quarterback Daunte Culpepper with backup Drew Stanton. "I thought it would give us a spark," Marinelli said. But Culpepper is still the unquestioned starter. Even if he weren't, Stanton suffered a concussion and Culpepper had to come back in for him. If Stanton cannot play Thursday, the Lions will have to sign Drew Henson from the practice squad. Dan Orlovsky (thumb) is not ready to return.
- DE Jared DeVries returned from a broken hand Sunday against Tampa Bay wearing a protective cast, but he rebroke the same hand.
- RB Kevin Smith suffered a shoulder injury early in the game but came back quickly. He had 16 carries for 86 yards.
- LB Ernie Sims left the game with a knee injury. The Lions tried to warm him back up, but he didn't feel like he could continue.
- LB Alex Lewis suffered a pectoral injury. He will be evaluated Monday.
- WR Mike Furrey was unable to play because of a concussion. He has missed two games and is uncertain for Thursday.