Lions Look to Overcome Losing Ways

Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna now says the team has to win 10 games to get into the playoffs, and they'll have to get through the Vikings to start a tough season-ending streak after losing three straight.

Entering the season, quarterback Jon Kitna said the Lions would win 10 games or more. Now he says the Lions must win 10 games.

"We've got to get to 10," Kitna said after the Lions' 37-26 Thanksgiving Day loss to Green Bay. "That's what gets you in. In the NFC, it's going to get you in. We've got to get to 10. We've got five games left."

It's going to be pretty tough. The Lions must go 4-1 down the stretch to win 10 games, now that they have lost three games in a row and sunk to 6-5. And this is their schedule: at Minnesota, Dallas, at San Diego, Kansas City, at Green Bay.

Kitna said the Lions still control whether they make the playoffs. But in reality, they don't. They could win out and still sit out in January.

They have almost no chance to catch the 10-1 Packers in the NFC North. Each of their competitors in the wild-card race — the New York Giants (7-3), plus Arizona, Philadelphia and Washington (all 5-5) — also have beaten them and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

"We're still in a good position," Kitna said. "We're right where we need to be. It's not where we want to be, but where we need to be. We've got five games left, and we've got a lot of character in this locker room."

They're going to need a lot of character. This franchise hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999, and the mood around Detroit is already one of despair.

"You just need to grit your teeth, look at your teammates and say, ‘Hey, let's not give up, let's not pack in the tents and just call it a season and quit,' " defensive tackle Cory Redding said. "We can't dwell on this, be all sad and down."

Coach Rod Marinelli keeps preaching the same message.

"We've just got to get right back to it," Marinelli said. "I'm never going to change — ever. I think you know me well enough. There's no panic in my life. I just don't live that way.

"I do look forward to the challenge that's ahead of us. It's a tough challenge. I've been down this road many a times. I just believe in the players. I believe in work habits. I believe in work."

NOTES

  • Running back Kevin Jones wasn't sure how well he would play against Green Bay. He has been managing a sore left foot all season. He usually doesn't go through a full practice on Thursdays, let alone a full game. But Jones finished with 20 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown, his second-best numbers of the season. He had 23 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown Oct. 28 at Chicago. Jones also caught two passes for 27 yards. "I was a little shaky coming in," Jones said. "I thought I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. But game time came, adrenalin was working, and I just went with it. I just tried to tough it out, and it worked out for me."

  • DT Shaun Cody, a second-round pick in 2005, was inactive for the first time in his career for non-injury reasons. Marinelli said he chose to activate Langston Moore over Cody.

  • DE Dewayne White returned against the Packers after missing two games with a triceps injury. He started on the right end over Kalimba Edwards, while Jared DeVries started at left end.



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