Bengals or Lions: Which is More Likely To Go 0-16?

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 12, 2008

Things are starting to get back to normal in the NFL. The Colts won a game at home, the Raiders have an interim head puppet,, and the Bengals and Lions are winless.

Last season, we finally saw a team go 16-0 in the regular season, but we have never seen a team run it in reverse and complete an 0-16 campaign. 

Several teams, including last year's 1-15 Miami Dolphins, have flirted with perfect imperfection, but all have been able to avoid it.

This season presents two candidates: the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions.

While I do not think that either of these teams will finish the season without a victory, here are three reasons why each team might finish winless:


Cincinnati Bengals

1. The inmates run the asylum 

With all the arrests over the past couple of seasons and the re-admittance of Chris Henry to the franchise, it seems that they players have more control than the coaches in Cincinnati.

2. Questions about Carson Palmer

Palmer has missed the past two games due to injury and he has been largely ineffective when he has played. In four games this season, he has a rating of 69.0 and has thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three). 

3. Running Woes

Not only can the Bengals not run the ball, but they can't stop it either. They are getting outgained on the ground by more than a 2:1 margin. 


Detroit Lions

1. Ghost of Matt Millen

Matt Millen may be gone but his team is still here. A team built on flashy wide receivers will not stand. The Lions have two of the best in the league in Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson, and that's about it. They don't have a franchise quarterback or a player around which to build a defense. 

2. Schedule

Of the remaining games, only one is against a team with a winning record. They play the 1-4 Houston Texans on the road next week. Detroit must play teams such as Washington, Jacksonville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. They will likely be at least a touchdown underdog to each one.

3. Margin of Defeat

Before losing the Minnesota 12-10 in Week Six, Detroit lost its previous four games by margins of 13, 23, 18, and 27. That's ugly. 


And the team more likely to go winless is...

Detroit Lions. 

They have, hand-down, the worst defense in the league. They rank 31st in points allowed, 32nd in yards allowed, 30th in pass yards allowed, and 31st in run yards allowed. Their average time of possession is less than 26 minutes per game. 

At least the Bengals have been competitive. They took the Giants to overtime and were within nine points of Dallas. They do get a chance to play Cleveland again and will battle almost equally inept Kansas City in Week 17.