Even if the Tennessee Titans manage to go 16-0 in the regular season, the hype machine is not going to be the same after the fervor about the New England Patriots last season. Partially, the Titans are not nearly as sexy as the Pats (Kerry Collins is no Tom Brady). And also, there would be an element of “win the Super Bowl and then let’s talk.” Plus, there’s the fact that no one in their right mind thinks that Tennessee is going undefeated.
However, there is a story brewing that is just as compelling, if not more so. It would be an incredibly difficult task to pull off - in fact, no team has ever done it - but it would be a story that would captivate the nation with each game as the team gets closer to it. I’m talking about the dream of an 0-16 team, aka The Imperfect Season. (The Bucs did it once in 1976, but that was with a 14-game season.)
Both the Bengals and Lions held up their end of the bargain on Sunday and remained winless. Let’s look at both teams and see which one has the best chance of making a run at absolute and total mortality:
The Bengals got 38-10 by the Steelers on Sunday to go to 0-7, a one-game head start on the Lions. And the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER notes, fans should get ready for at least one more game of Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, as Carson Palmer is likely to miss next week’s game against the Texans as well with his shoulder injury.
So things might be bad for awhile. But remember that they close with Browns - who have actually scored fewer points this season than the Bengals, and the abysmal Kansas City Chiefs, who might be starting YOU at quarterback by the end of the this season. Realistically, the Bengals might 0-15 going into their final game of the season against the Chiefs at home and be favorites.
That’s not going to be a problem for the Lions. When you look at their schedule, they are amazingly past the “easy” part and into the teeth of it: the winning percentage of their opponents to date: .475; in games remaining: .612. With the exception of one game, it’s realistic that the Lions could be double-digit underdogs in every game they have remaining this season.
And that’s the game that’s going to make or break the Lions’ chance at history: December 7 at home against the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions almost beat the Vikings at Minnesota, falling 12-10 last Sunday. Playing at home, and with the Vikings continuing to self-destructive ways, then Detroit might actually have a chance to win. And for fans of history, that can’t happen.
Unlike the Bengals, the Lions don’t have an injured starting QB. Which, when your QB is running out of the back of the end zone for no good reason, is a plus and a minus. Plus, their head coach Rod Marinelli is still insane, so I have total faith that they can get through that potential hurdle against the Vikings on their way to 0-16.