England's RBS 6 Nations campaign could produce an 18-year low when the world champions tackle unbeaten title contenders Ireland on Sunday.
After finishing second-best, albeit narrowly, to Wales and France, England will lose three successive games in a championship season for the first time since 1987 if they come unstuck at Lansdowne Road.
The odds are stacked against Andy Robinson's men ending an unhappy run of eight defeats in 11 Tests, while they haven't won away since March last year.
Ireland, in contrast, are buoyant, on the trail of a first Grand Slam for 57 years.
And there is also considerable scope for revenge after they were thumped 42-6 by England in a Dublin Grand Slam showdown two years ago.
Once again, England have seen their preparations hit by injury, with World Cup winner Phil Vickery following his fellow tighthead prop Julian White on the casualty list. As a result, Robinson hands 22-year-old Bath prop Matt Stevens a first RBS 6 Nations start.
Given that Stevens has played most of his club rugby on the scrum's loosehead side, it would appear to be a selection gamble, while the same could be said for Robinson retaining fly-half Charlie Hodgson as first-choice goalkicker.
Hodgson and centre Olly Barkley missed six penalties between them during the 18-17 Twickenham defeat against France, although England at least have an insurance policy this time around with top English Premiership points-scorer Andy Goode on the bench.
Ireland hold all the aces, especially, it would seem, up-front. Locks Paul O'Connell and Malcolm O'Kelly are comfortably expected to dominate the lineouts, with flankers Simon Easterby and Jonny O'Connor also in scintillating form.
But it is behind the scrum where Ireland could really cause havoc, especially with captain and midfield genius Brian O'Driscoll returning right on cue from a hamstring injury.
Elsewhere, fly-half Ronan O'Gara will look to celebrate winning his 50th cap in style with a comfortable home win.
Such a result would keep Ireland on course for a championship clean sweep, leaving England in the wooden spoon mix alongside Scotland and Italy, ahead of both countries visiting Twickenham next month.
G Murphy (Leicester); G Dempsey (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), S Horgan (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster); R Corrigan (Leinster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli), J O'Connor (Wasps), A Foley (Munster).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), M Horan (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), E Miller (Leinster), G Easterby (Leinster), D Humphreys (Ulster), K Maggs (Ulster).
J Robinson (Sale Sharks, capt); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), J Noon (Newcastle), O Barkley (Bath), J Lewsey (Wasps); C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), H Ellis (Leicester); G Rowntree (Leicester), S Thompson (Northampton), M Stevens (Bath), D Grewcock (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), J Worsley (Wasps), L Moody (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester).
Replacements : A Titterrell (Sale Sharks), D Bell (Bath), S Borthwick (Bath), A Hazell (Gloucester), M Dawson (Wasps), A Goode (Leicester), O Smith (Leicester).