Now the Lions -- who don't play either team in the last two weeks of the regular season -- say they must view their rivals as household pests.
"We let a bunch of ants in the house," defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. "And now you have to go and get an exterminator to get 'em out."
That won't be easy for Detroit, seeing as the Lions no longer control their fate. Detroit (7-7) needs to beat the New York Giants on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings in the season finale simply to stay alive.
Still, if either Chicago (8-6) or Green Bay (7-6-1) wins out, Detroit will be eliminated.
The Lions put themselves in this position by losing four of their last five games -- including 18-16 to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
"We need to go out and get a win this weekend," coach Jim Schwartz said. "That's the most important thing. That's the only thing we can control.
"Last week, we could control our destiny through. Now we can control the next game we play, and everything else we just let play out."