Nearly seven years after breaking a record for the longest road losing streak in NFL history, the Detroit Lions could do it again.
If that happens, they’ll also be assured of remaining in the record book as the only team to accomplish an even more dubious feat.
Two years removed from their 0-16 debacle, the Lions face the lone team that can match that mark this season as they meet the Buffalo Bills looking to avoid a 25th consecutive road loss.
Detroit (2-6) has tied its own league record by dropping 24 consecutive road games since a 16-7 victory at Chicago on Oct. 28, 2007. Even the lowly Bills have nine road victories in that span despite not having a winning season since 1999.
The Lions, who also dropped 24 straight on the road from Sept. 9, 2001-Dec. 21, 2003, have lost three of their four road games this year by eight points or fewer.
The Bills (0-8) keep playing close games, losing each of their last three by three points, but remain the NFL’s only winless team. The 2008 Lions are the only team to finish a 16-game season without a victory.
After overtime losses at Baltimore and Kansas City, the Bills fell 22-19 to Chicago in Toronto last Sunday, blowing a five-point lead in the fourth quarter as Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) threw two interceptions - one in the final minute.
Johnson has 340 receiving yards in the past three games and six TDs in his last five, but he’ll get even more attention from opposing defenses now that Roscoe Parrish(notes) is out for the season. Parrish has a career-high 400 yards receiving, second on the team to Johnson (554), but broke his wrist Sunday.
Parrish’s injury wasn’t the only difficult news this week. Buffalo announced that linebacker Andra Davis(notes) will be out for the year with a nagging shoulder injury that kept him out of two games, including the loss to Chicago.
The injury to Davis, who has 41 tackles, leaves a big hole in a Buffalo defense which already is allowing a league-high 29.1 points per game. The Bills have the sixth-best defense against the pass, allowing 193.4 yards per game, but they’re giving up 265.8 in the last four.
Merriman was a star linebacker in his first three years with San Diego, but had been slowed by injuries over the last two-plus seasons.
“I hope he’s starting on Sunday,” safety Donte Whitner(notes) said. “It’s leadership he brings on the football field, but especially getting pressure on that quarterback and making the offensive staff in Detroit pay special attention to him.”
As the Bills shuffle their defensive lineup, an injury has forced the Lions to change quarterbacks once again.
Hill broke his arm against the New York Giants on Oct. 17 after taking over when Stafford suffered his first shoulder injury. In six games, Hill has thrown for 1,309 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 61.1 percent of his passes.
“It feels good,” Hill told the Lions’ official website. “I’m full-go.”
Hill will look to help the Lions bounce back after last weekend’s heartbreaker. The Jets scored 10 points in the final 2:46 of regulation, tying the game on a 36-yard field goal as time expired. Earlier, Detroit missed an extra point when rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes) filled in for injured kicker Jason Hanson(notes) and the ball hit the upright.
It appears Hanson won’t be available this week, and the team signed David Raymer to likely handle the kicking duties.
Last Sunday was especially frustrating for Calvin Johnson(notes), who had 247 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the previous two games, but struggled to shake coverage and was held to one catch for 13 yards.
This is the first meeting between these teams since Detroit’s 20-17 win in 2006.