Both have reached levels that once were unimaginable, and now have become unspeakable.
The Lions have sunk to the bottom of the NFC North, and there is nowhere to go, because they can't go up. They are locked into last place in the division with a 4-9 record, and unable to catch the third-place Minnesota Vikings, who are 7-6 and hold the tiebreaker on the Lions because of a sweep of their two games.
The Lions have taken a huge drop from last year's 10-6 record and a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs.
"It absolutely sucks," said guard
"It's nothing short of a tragedy. This is still one of the better teams I have been on. It just hurts."
The Lions are at a point that is almost beyond analysis, at least until they churn through the last three games and get to the offseason. Everything they've done of late has either not been enough or turned out wrong - or both.
There was some of that in Sunday night's 27-20 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
This week's Monday Countdown looks back - briefly - at how the Lions came close but unraveled against the Packers. There's also a look around the NFL at how a rookie quarterback other than Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a crucial overtime win over the Ravens Sunday, a prediction on how Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will feel the heat, and the best and worst of the NFL after Week 14.
We start with a look back at how the Lions left Lambeau Field with their 22nd straight road loss to the Packers:
1. Form reversal: It was a strange scenario from past games in Green Bay, but with the same result.
"We need to start fast - OK," Sims said.
Right. The Lions scored on their first two possessions for a 14-0 lead.
"We need to run the ball - OK," Sims said.
Right. The Lions had 24 carries for 114 yards in the first half - but only 18 yards on eight carries in the second.
"We need to protect (the quarterback) - OK," Sims said.
Protect Stafford they did.
On 45 official drop-backs, Stafford was never sacked by a Packers defender. The only sack recorded by the Packers was a team sack given them when the ball slipped out of Stafford's hands when he dropped back to pass in the second quarter. Stafford was never hit, but the ball popped loose as he began his throwing motion. Packers lineman Michael Daniels ran 42 yards with the ball for the Packers' first TD.
And win they didn't.
It has been that kind of season.
2. Fresh starts: Sims was asked if the team has the same feeling going into games as it did last year. There is no less expectation of winning.
"Absolutely," he said. "From the start of games ... absolutely."
The end of games is another matter.
3. Clock time: It probably didn't mean anything, but the strategy on the Lions last timeout was questionable. It was called with the Packers facing 4th-and-10 at their 44 with 2:10 left.
The punt took the clock down to the two-minute warning. The Lions got the ball at their 22 with 1:59, and without a timeout.
One man's opinion: a better strategy would have been to let the clock run to the two-minute warning, then have the Packers punt. The clock stops on a change of position.
With everything the same, which is reasonable, the Lions would have had the ball with 1:49 left and one timeout. That would have allowed slightly more flexibility in play selection.
4. Sparty on: When the Washington Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins on the fourth round, it surprised everyone – but no one more than Cousins.
The Redskins had already taken Robert Griffin III with the second pick overall. One hundred picks later, they took Cousins, giving them two rookies on the roster.
"I'll be the first one to say it was a surprising pick to me, as well," Cousins said in a national radio interview shortly after the draft.
The answer came Sunday. There is no such thing as having too much quality talent at quarterback.
The Redskins were in a must-win game with the Ravens and trailing, 28-20, when RG3 went out with a knee injury on the final possession.
When Cousins went in, the situation was 2nd-and-20 at the Ravens' 26 and 45 seconds left.
A completion on the first play gained 15 yards to the 11. On the next play, Cousins hit Pierre Garcon for the touchdown.
Cousins ran off left guard for the conversion for a 28-28 tie, sending the game into overtime.
A long punt return put the Redskins in field goal range to win, 31-28, and stay in playoff contention.
Cousins played briefly in one other game, completing five of nine passes with a TD and two intercpetoins in a loss to Atlanta in Game 5. That didn't match the pressure he was under Sunday, and he came through.
Nobody should be asking now.
5. NFC North southbound: It wasn't that long ago that the North was regarded as the NFC's strongest division. At 4-4, the Lions had the worst record in the division at the halfway point of the season.
The division has come back to earth. The Lions are the only team with a losing record, but the Packers are the only team that's on the upswing.
Four losses in five games have dropped the Bears from 7-1 to 8-5.
The Vikings, who once had records of 4-1 and 5-2, got to 7-6 Sunday with a 21-14 win at home over the Bears.
Only the Packers are on the rise - with a 7-1 record after a 2-3 start to take first place alone at 9-4.
6. The im-Ponderable: Not to repeat myself, but it's still amazing that the Vikings beat the Lions twice with quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Vikings are 2-4 in their last six games, and in five of those games Ponder has had passer ratings of 74.8, 37.3, 58.2, 41.9 and 53.8.
His one good game: 114.2 in a 34-24 win over the Lions. Ponder completed 24 of 32 passes (75 percent) with two TDs and no interceptions. On the fifth play of the game, Ponder completed a 54-yard pass to rookie Jarius Wright, who was playing his first series as a pro.
7. Kickoff rule: However well intentioned rule changes may be to reduce the possibility of injuries, there have to be limits. The possibility that the NFL would replace the kickoff with a punt from the 30-yard line, or the option of running a play on a 4th-and-15, is beyond the limit.
You don't have to be ancient or to have started watching football when players wore leather helmets without facemasks to know that the game used to be a lot more violent across the board, not just on special teams.
But on special teams specifically, there is a reason that those units were called "goon squads," "suicide squads" and "bomb squads." It wasn't because they played flag football. Men got hurt because of the violence.
Rule changes to limit violence on special teams are intended to protect players, not destroy the fabric integrity of the game. That's been true of everything from limiting the wedge on kickoff returns from three players to two to not letting the rush unit on field goals and extra points line up head-on over the long-snapper.
Moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line has cut down the number of returns, thus reducing the odds of injury.
One man's opinion: the search for reducing the risk of injury should be ongoing, but eliminating the kickoff goes too far.
8. Sounds like: Nothing I want to hear, if they eliminate the kickoff.
"Kickoff at 1," or whatever the starting time, is part of football's vocabulary.
Anyone really like the sound of "the punt at 1"? Or "4th-and-15 at 1"?
How about "never" for either?
9. Heisman Hype: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman, which makes him eligible for the NFL draft after the 2013 season. It will be the third year since leaving high school, and the same path Larry Fitzgerald used to enter the NFL draft in 2004.
How long in 2013 before the hype machine hums in earnest for Manziel to leave school and risk hurting his draft status by injury or declining poor performance?
I say it starts Sept. 15 – the day after A&M plays its third game, at home against Alabama, the team Manziel beat in 2012 in a major upset. Nick Saban's teams get even.
10. Draftniks: It's too early for mock drafts, but plug in cornerback, safety, stud outside linebacker, speed running back and interior offensive linemen somewhere in the first five rounds.
At the top of the list, put a cornerback with good size who's been healthy throughout college.
11. The NFL's best after Week 14:
1. Texans (11-1): They can prove it by beating the Patriots Monday night.
2. Broncos (10-3): NFL's hottest team with eight straight wins.
3. Patriots (9-3): They jump to No. 1 with a win over Texans.
4. Falcons (11-2): Staggering lately, but the record speaks for itself.
5. 49ers (9-3-1): Solid win over Miami Sunday, but next two are at New England and Seattle.
6. Packers (9-4): They were built this year to win in December, January.
7. Baltimore (9-4): Two straight tough losses to Steelers, Redskins.
8. Colts (9-4): Give them credit for their record.
9. Seahawks (8-5): Wipeout win over Arizona, but it was only Arizona.
10. Giants (8-5): Marched over the Saints, but next two are at Atlanta and Baltimore.
11. Redskins (7-6): Four straight wins, but injury to RG3 is major concern.
12. Bears (8-5): Sinking, sinking, sinking, and home to Green Bay on Sunday.
12. The NFL's worst:
5. Eagles (3-10): Nick Foles isn't the answer at QB.
4. Raiders (3-10): Remember when Carson Palmer was the savior?
3. Cardinals (4-9): From 4-0 to nine straight losses. Lions better win Sunday.
2. Jaguars (2-11): I thought Chad Henne would be competent at worst. Wrong.
1. Chiefs (2-11): The franchise can't rebuild fast enough.