ALLEN PARK — The Lions remember. Even those that weren’t on the roster in 2008 and 2009 know what it’s like to desperately need a win.
That’s the position the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) are in as they prepare to play the Detroit Lions (3-4) on Sunday in Jacksonville.
The Lions, to a player, vow to not take the Jaguars lightly.
“We once were in that position and we know how it feels, we had the mentality of trying to ruin people’s playoffs,’’ Lions cornerback Chris Houston said. “I know that’s the same thing they want to do for us.’’
The Lions are favored on the road and bring all the right statistics. They’re one of four NFL teams ranked in top 10 in both total offense (second) and total defense (ninth). The Jaguars, who have lost four straight, are 32nd in offense and 25th in defense.
“We’re playing on the road. We’re playing a team that has played tough against everybody in our division, and we know how tough our division is,’’ Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
“So it doesn’t matter what any other kind of match-up or anything else says. We have a lot of respect for our opponents. We’ll have a good game plan. We have to take away their strengths and we have to accentuate our strengths. It’s no different than any other week.’’
The Lions just have to look back to the third week in the season when they went to Tennessee to play the Titans who were winless. Not to say they took them lightly, but the Lions lost in overtime to drop to 1-2.
Now the Lions need a win to get back to .500 and keep their playoff hopes alive.
“I think we’ve responded well to adversity the team is doing a good job of correcting mistakes and executing the way we need to execute,’’ Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “Obviously this week will be a challenge an away game, playing Jacksonville, they’re coming off a tough close loss to Green Bay. I’m looking forward to it.’’
The Lions will be without safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion) — also Bill Bentley was placed on injured reserve this week and is gone for the season.
Calvin Johnson (knee) and DeAndre Levy (hamstring) are both questionable.
The Jaguars will be without running back Maurice Jones-Drew, starting safety Dwight Lowery and starting cornerback Rashean Mathis.
That’s going to hurt, but they’re not hanging their heads. Second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for 303 yards in the loss at Lambeau Field last week.
“Probably the thing that’s kept us going and going I feel in a positive direction is our players have recognized we’re very close, much closer than I think a lot of people outside the building perceive,’’ Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said in a conference call.
“Players see it, coaches know it and, you know, we’re failing to find ways to finish games such as the Lions did last week to come back and win that game,’’ Mularkey said. “So, there’s progress going on here and I think the players recognize that and, you know, we need to do some things to make some plays to help us finish some games.”
When Schwartz was asked about similarities between the 2009 Lions and these 2012 Jaguars, he can clearly see, that like the 2009 Lions, they are having trouble finishing games. Still, he has a ton of respect for Mularkey’s bunch.
If the Jaguars are posed for a turn-around, Schwartz only had one thing to say: “I hope it’s not this week.’’
(Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at oplions.blogspot.com.)