They'll tell you the stench of '08 is gone and they're looking forward to the 2009 season. They'll talk about their new swagger, which may or may not be Paxil-aided. Whatever the mindset, the Lions are on a terrible losing streak as a franchise, and I'm not talking about the 16 games last year (17 dating back to 2007), or even the fact that they haven't had a winning record since 2000. They've been on a 50-year losing streak, ever since they traded away Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne.
Many scholars and augurs state that, with the 50th and final year of the curse being 2008, the 51st season will be one of rebirth and success. And what better way to measure success than by just trying to win a single game? Percentage wise, their record would improve by infinity with a single win, the largest such improvement since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule. Now, the trick is to figure out where that win would occur:
WEEK 1: AT NEW ORLEANS — The Saints are in freefall. With Reggie Bush as the feature back, their top non-passing play will be him running around the backfield in the outline of Prince's old name. The Lions get the simian-like alien off their back by winning the first game of the season.
WEEK 2: VS. MINNESOTA — Okay, so last week didn't go so well. But last year the closest they came to victory was against the Vikes at home. Only a questionable pass interference kept the automatic garage door stuck halfway down. This could be the week the Lions finish what they started. (Actually, strike that. Poor cliche for this team.)
WEEK 3: VS. WASHINGTON — The Lions haven't beaten the 'Skins since 2000 by the score of 15-10, as kicker Jason Hanson's trusty foot accounted for all the points. Hanson is still a staple of the Lions offense (21-of-22 field goals in '08, perfect from 50+ yards away), and will be around for perhaps four more years. History repeats itself as Hanson kicks maybe four or five of his patented consolation prizes for stalled drives, scoring more than enough for Detroit.
WEEK 4: AT CHICAGO — Back in 2003, the Lions set an NFL record for consecutive road losses, which was snapped in Week 1 of the 2004 season in Chicago. The same situation's in place for Detroit to escape temporary futility. This is a perfect game for the Lions to win their first of the year, not like the previous three games.
WEEK 5: VS. PITTSBURGH — Well, suppose if … maybe they could … anyone can win any game at any … it's a home game, so … suppose Santonio Holmes got really, really drunk the night before the … aw hell, it won't be this week.
WEEK 6: AT GREEN BAY — Okay, so the revenge factor didn't work against Minnesota. But remember last year, Detroit had Green Bay on the ropes in the fourth quarter … only to give up 24 points in the last five minutes and change. But the lesson was clear: the Packers will give up large amounts of points quickly.
WEEK 7: BYE — A possibility.
WEEK 8: VS. ST. LOUIS — The NFL is all about rules that benefit the game as a whole. An actual football game between the Lions and the Rams would be detrimental to the sport. Just give the victory to whoever wins the coin flip. It's a 50-50 shot the Lions will break the losing skid with this formula, with even better odds if Phil Luckett throws the quarter.
WEEK 9: AT SEATTLE — The Seahawks are another terrible team getting terribler. And that isn't even a word! That's how bad they are. Their leading receiver last year is John Carlson. Who the hell is that? This is a perfect game for the Lions to win their first of the year, not like the previous seven games.
WEEK 10: AT MINNESOTA — By now, you'd expect Brett Favre to retire (only to come back in Week 13), giving the Lions their best shot at Tarvaris Jackson, which you'd have to imagine is more than enough for their first win of the season.
WEEK 11: VS. CLEVELAND — Okay, so New Orleans, Seattle, St. Louis, and both times against Minnesota were winnable games, but those were all NFC teams. The Browns will be the worst team in the AFC, and the Reverse Super Bowl shall prove to be the catalyst that gets the Lions out of this terrible, terrible funk. This is a perfect game for the Lions to win their first of the year, not like the previous nine games.
WEEK 12: VS. GREEN BAY — Their last win over Green Bay was in Week 1 of 2005, when Mike Williams caught one of his two career touchdowns. So if the Lions do a Mike Williams Bobblehead night for this game, expect some kind of voodoo to be unleashed on the Packers' defense.
WEEK 13: AT CINCINNATI — Chad Ochocinco receives a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty when he calls himself "Chad Johnson" after a late touchdown, giving the Lions excellent field position to steal away the win from the Bengals' paws.
WEEK 14: AT BALTIMORE — I forget. Are the Ravens good or bad this year? I'm pretty sure Baltimore's success changes annually with an inverse relation to whether or not eggs are good for your heart. This year, I think eggs are beneficial for you. So the Ravens will be pretty bad.
WEEK 15: VS. ARIZONA — Okay, really? Whatever the hell happened to strength of schedule based on last year's record? An 0-16 team plays both Super Bowl contenders? All right then. Last year's Cardinals team was a fluke. Total fluke. The Desert Birds will fly into Detroit with clipped wings and lose, um, somehow.
WEEK 16: AT SAN FRANCISCO — 49ers coach Mike Singletary tore the "interim" off his coach title, along with his pants, by winning five of his last seven games in 2008. Parity reigns supreme as the 49ers, who start off hot, falter down the stretch, marked inconspicuously by this game. And it has to be this week. This is a perfect game for the Lions to win their first of the year, not like the previous 14 games. Because if it isn't…
WEEK 17: VS. CHICAGO — … then at this point I want to see 0-32.