Odds are stacked against Detroit

The Lions, who could set the league record for most points allowed, have lost their last 17 treks to Wisconsin. They are nine-point underdogs for Sunday. What will it take for them to avoid the infamy of an 0-16 season?

It doesn't look good for the Lions.

They will become the NFL's first 0-16 team if they lose Sunday at Green Bay, and as if it weren't enough that they already have the NFL's first 0-15 record, there are plenty of other stats and facts that make their chances of avoiding infamy seem slim.

They are nine-point underdogs.

They haven't won in Wisconsin since 1991. That's 17 straight losses, including the playoffs. Their 16 straight regular-season losses at Green Bay is the second-longest such active streak in the league — second only to their 18-game streak at Washington.

They are in danger of setting the NFL record for most points allowed in a season. They have allowed 486 points. The record is 533, set by Baltimore in 1981. So, if the Lions allow the same number of points they did in their first game against the Packers this season, 48, they will set the record by one point.

What's more, the Packers are 13-1 in regular-season finales since 1994, best in the NFL. Their last victory in a regular-season finale? It was over the Lions last year.

The Packers are out of the playoff picture, but the Lions expect them to play hard. The Packers just put up a good fight on "Monday Night Football," losing to Chicago, 20-17, in overtime.

"If you ask the people that are playing it, it means something to them," coach Rod Marinelli said. "It means everything to every coach that comes in. Every game means something."

This situation is unique, too.

"They've got a lot to play for," center Dominic Raiola said. "They don't want to be the team that we beat."

To give themselves even a chance to win, the Lions must control the clock and keep the Packers' offense off the field. To do that, they must do two main things:

One, they must not fall behind badly again, forcing them to throw to catch up.

"Obviously we cannot get in a hole," Raiola said. "It's hard to dig out of a hole on the road, too, especially. We can't get in a hole. We have to go start fast."

Two, they must run the ball well.

The Packers have a strong pass defense, but they rank only 26th against the run. Rookie running back Kevin Smith has come along the second half of this season, and he needs a career-high 116 yards to reach 1,000 yards for the season. The more Smith gets the ball, the better he plays.

When the Lions are on defense, they have to find a way to contain quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In this teams' first meeting this season, a 48-25 Green Bay victory Sept. 14, Rodgers went 24-for-38 for 328 yards and three touchdowns.

"He hurt us the last time we played him," Marinelli said. "We didn't contain him very well. He's an athlete. He moves to throw. He's buying his own time."

Rodgers made plays outside of the pocket, and the Packers spread out the Lions by going three- and four-wide. The Lions are especially susceptible to that now with a secondary thinned by injuries.

"They're very good," Marinelli said. "They can spread you out. The thing they do as good as anything, how many personnel groups they can hit you with. On defense, I mean, you are struggling. They run those personnel groups in and out fast. They can really stress you."

There is no magic formula for the Lions. No "Gipper" speech is going to inspire them. No crazy game plan is going to outsmart the Packers. At this point, the Lions simply must play better than they have all season — and maybe get a little lucky.

"It just comes down to game day, that moment on game day," Marinelli said. "We have absolutely practiced exceptional all year. I couldn't be happier with how we've practiced. Today was a tremendous practice. We've just got to carry that into a game and execute for four quarters."

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