ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - There's no sympathy among losers.
So don't expect any onfield pity party to break out Sunday when the Buffalo Bills play host to the Detroit Lions in an anti-classic misery-suits-company matchup that could go a long way in determining which team just might be the NFL's most inept of the new century.
"I don't have any pity on those guys," said Lions receiver Calvin Johnson of a Bills opponent that, at 0-8, is halfway to matching the Lions' 0-16 campaign of two years ago. "They've got to win, and we've got to win."
Buffalo safety Donte Whitner isn't expecting anyone to feel sorry for the Bills, particularly the Lions (2-6), who have lost 24 straight road games, one short of breaking the NFL record they themselves set in 2003.
"Yeah, you don't feel empathy for anybody, and we don't expect people to feel empathy for us," Whitner said. "We're 0-8. We expect them to come out and try to embarrass us."
Let the bad times roll, then, in a midseason Futility Bowl between two teams that have much more in common than sharing a Great Lakes address.
Buffalo and Detroit are tied in having the league's longest active playoff droughts - dating to the 1999 season. Their drafting history has been inconsistent.
And then there have been the near-perennial quarterback and coaching carousels, with the Bills actually hiring Dick Jauron in 2006, a year after he finished the previous season as the Lions' interim coach.
Off to its worst start since 1984, Buffalo has been incapable of winning in the United States or in Canada, following a 22-19 loss to Chicago in the Bills' home-away-from-home in Toronto last week.
The Lions can't win anywhere outside of Detroit since a 16-7 victory at Chicago on Oct. 28, 2007.
And to think, the Bills are actually favored by three points.
"You've still got to earn it," receiver Lee Evans said, before adding nothing surprises him any more, including the Lions road woes. "I couldn't fathom being 0-8 either. So, things happen."
Winning in the clutch has been a problem too. Buffalo's lost each of its last three by three points, including twice in overtime. The Lions' latest collapse came in squandering a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in a 23-20 OT loss to the New York Jets last weekend.
Lions guard Stephen Peterman went through the winless season in Detroit, and can understand what the Bills are going through.
"They remind me of how we were the year we were 0-16. They're not quitting," Peterman said. "I'm sure with us not winning on the road in a while, they're probably looking at this as, 'Hey, this is where we can get our first win of the year.'"
Someone's got to win, right?