DETROIT (AP) -The Tennessee Titans blew the symmetry of an 11-0, 0-11 matchup with the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
The once-beaten Titans, though, will get a chance to show coast-to-coast viewers they're still a dominant team against the winless Lions.
``We also have to remember it's a national stage for them to show that although they have an 0-11 record, that they still have a pretty good team,'' Jevon Kearse said. ``We have to do a pretty good job of it and not let them show the world against us.''
Much of the nation is spared from watching the Lions, but this is the one time of year football fans don't have a choice.
.
``It's a lack of a respect,'' Jason Hanson, in his 17th season with the Lions. ``But we haven't been good for some years and who don't give a rip about the Lions at the bottom of the barrel; they don't see you. But to take a spell that's been terrible and act like it defines the game and what it's been, the point doesn't stand.
``The tradition of the day is far bigger than what we've done at Ford Field the last few years.''
Thankfully.
The Lions have lost their showcase game the past four years by an average of 20 points.
Tennessee is not only motivated to bounce back from its 20-point setback at home to the New York Jets, but to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the Lions.
``We definitely don't want to be the first one to lose to them,'' Ahmard Hall said. ``I know they're going to be extremely hyped. They think we're going to be down from this loss. They can smell blood in the water.
``This is their big game.''
Detroit running back Kevin Smith agreed.
``It's my chance to be in the Super Bowl on Thanksgiving Day,'' Smith said.
The Titans have a chance to finish the season in the real Super Bowl and they plan to continue a march toward it on the ground.
st that until having a lackluster game through the air against the Jets.
Detroit seems like the perfect team to get your running game going against because its rushing defense ranks last in the league, giving up 318 and 264 yards rushing to Atlanta and Carolina, respectively.
The Lions have started to run the ball better lately, leading to Smith averaging nearly 100 yards rushing the past three games.
``I always had confidence,'' the rookie said. ``I just needed an opportunity. They gave it to me and now, I'm establishing myself.
``I'm going to come out smoking in this game. Everything I got, it's going to show.''
Smith might find it difficult to do much against an Albert Haynesworth-led defensive line.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound defensive tackle is averaging 5 1/2 tackles a game and has a career-high 8 1/2 sacks, despite taking on two blockers a lot.
``He's relentless,'' Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. ``Every down, he's the same player.''
If the Titans shut down Smith, Daunte Culpepper will likely look to connect with Calvin Johnson more often. Johnson has scored in six of the last seven games and leads the team with 48 catches, 905 yards receiving.
perately needs it. Usually, his play is overshadowed by his team's lack of success.
``I'm just excited for this nation to see what he's about,'' Marinelli said. ``He is really special.''
After the Titans and Lions kick off the NFL's tripleheader Thursday, Hall hopes viewers think his team is still special.
``You definitely want to let them know that we still are the Tennessee Titans - the best team in the league,'' he said. ``We have one of the best records in the league. We want to let them know that soon that we are what we put on tape in the first 10 weeks.''
The Lions, conversely, want to have witnesses to their belief that they're really not marching toward an unprecedented 0-16 record.
``We've got a national spotlight on us and I think that's really good for us right now to see what kind of fiber we have,'' Marinelli insisted. ``We'll be scrutinized, which will be really good. That's what this league's about - to be scrutinized and then be able to stand up to it and perform.''

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