The Detroit Lions no longer have a chance at a second straight winning season, and barring a complete NFC implosion, they've also lost any chance at the playoffs.
That means the Lions are back to playing out a string of meaningless games in December. Disappointing doesn't begin to color this season for Lions fans.
There have been positives this season, of course, and there will be plenty of time to recount those after Week 17. For now, though, there is plenty that the Lions can accomplish still this season in preparation for their comeback attempt in 2013.
No. 1 on that list has to be wiping out their embarrassingly long losing streak at Lambeau Field, where they Lions have not emerged victorious since 1991. That means the Lions have been unable to beat Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers or even Matt Flynn at Lambeau Field throughout their careers.
The Packers are not the same high-flying death machine they were last season, but the matchup remains a tall order, especially for a Lions team that has suffered three soul-crushing, fourth-quarter losses in as many weeks.
Even more compelling is that this game will take place in prime-time Sunday night. That's two conditions the Lions have struggled under: Lambeau Field and national television.
Despite the Lions' 4-8 record, this game is actually one of two prime-time games left in the Lions season, with the next being a Saturday night game (that cannot be flexed away) against the Falcons on Dec. 22. That's two games left to make a statement about what kind of team they are, both to the NFL and to themselves.
Last season, the Lions won a lot of games, but none came against "elite" teams. They won only one game against a playoff team, but that was a dismantling of the Tim Tebow-led Broncos before the Broncos simplified the offense enough for Tebow to understand how football works.
The Lions may be out of the postseason chase this season, but they may still be only a few pieces away from a deep playoff run next season. A strong finish to this season (against very strong competition) is just what the Lions need to change the offseason storyline from "should they blow it up?" to "what do they need to get over the top?"
That starts with playing spoiler for the Packers at Lambeau, and here's how.