Rams at Lions Preview

Detroit, MI - If there's any team that can relate to the St. Louis Rams' 17-game losing streak, it's the Detroit Lions.

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The Rams will try to end their skid Sunday when they visit Ford Field to face the Lions, who snapped their 19-game slide earlier this season.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Lions -4 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on the Lions -4 (View NFL bet percentages).

St. Louis (0-7) is one of three winless teams in the league, and quite possibly the worst. The Rams have scored the fewest points (60), given up the most (211) and have yet to score a rushing touchdown.

"We have to learn to put four good quarters together," running back Steven Jackson said. "We don't know how to win a game right now."

Detroit (1-5) has put together a good four quarters to earn a win just once in its last 23 games - a 19-14 victory over Washington on Sept. 27. That ended the Lions' 19-game losing streak, tied for second-longest in league history with the Chicago Cardinals of the 1940s and the Oakland Raiders of the 1960s.

Tampa Bay owns the league record of 26 straight losses after entering the league in 1976.

St. Louis could be headed in that direction if it continues to play like it did last Sunday. The Rams fell 42-6 to unbeaten Indianapolis, allowing the Colts to score touchdowns on their first two possessions and cruise to the win.

They took some solace in Jackson's season-high 134 yards on 23 carries. He has reached the 100-yard mark three times this season and ranks third in the league with 635.

"We want to be a physical team and run down the middle, not sideline to sideline," Jackson said. "The offensive line allowed us to do so in the second half."

The Rams have been more competitive on the road this year, losing 9-7 to Washington on Sept. 20 and 23-20 in overtime to Jacksonville on Oct. 18. Those are their only two games decided by fewer than 19 points, though they hope this is finally their week to win.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," rookie offensive tackle Jason Smith said. "Obviously, we're building towards whatever it is we're building here. When we do happen to be victorious, it'll be great."

Detroit had its bye last week and hopes to have rookie Matthew Stafford back after he missed the last two games with a knee injury. Stafford returned to practice Tuesday on a limited basis, but participated without limitations in the parts of practice the media was allowed to watch Wednesday.

Stafford's biggest target, Calvin Johnson, is also recovering from a knee injury and could miss a second straight game. He did not practice with teammates in the open portion of Wednesday's workout, a day after being limited to playing catch on the sidelines.

"I feel a lot better than I did a week ago, so I'm definitely optimistic, but I'm not positive," Johnson said Tuesday.

A return by Johnson or Stafford would provide a boost for an offense entering off a 26-0 loss at Green Bay on Oct. 18. Lions quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton combined to complete 11 of 25 passes for 105 yards and three interceptions, getting sacked five times.

"This is a hard-working team," coach Jim Schwartz said. "There's a lot of character on this football team, but the bottom line in this business is performance and we have to be very objective when it comes to performance."

Schwartz is a rookie coach like his counterpart, Steve Spagnuolo of the Rams. Spagnuolo - the former Giants defensive coordinator - is trying to stay positive through the losing.

"Don't let a bad play or a good play affect the next play, we talk about that all the time," Spagnuolo said. "That's what guys have got to fight through."

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Posted: 10/28/09 2:50PM ET

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