Dan Campbell addresses playing after Seattle Seahawks NFL game

Dan Campbell addresses playing after Seattle Seahawks NFL game

This weekend marks a pivotal point in the rebuilding of the Detroit Lions organization.

Sitting at 8-8, Lions coach Dan Campbell’s team can find its way into the playoffs with a win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, as well as some help from the Los Angeles Rams.

The Lions understand the gravity of Sunday night’s game. The stakes, coupled with the primetime atmosphere, are shaping this game to be the highlight of Sunday’s NFL lineup.

More: Ben Johnson listed as likely candidate to open for Panthers

Campbell’s team will have its playoff fate decided by the time the Seattle Seahawks take on the Los Angeles Rams, which is set for 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

If Seattle won, it would eliminate Detroit from the playoffs. If Los Angeles wins, the Lions will have to beat the Packers to get into the postseason.

The Lions are not caught up on the other games on Sunday’s schedule, focusing solely on their matchup with the Packers.

“More than anything, there’s one goal, and that’s winning this game,” Campbell said. “It’s us or nobody, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

Campbell and company are in this position just one year after finishing 3-13-1. They have won six of their last eight games to even their record, after a 1-6 start to the year.

Instead of shying away from the implications and treating Sunday’s game like any other, Detroit’s second-year coach has leaned into the fact that it’s essentially a playoff game to end the regular season.

“You say what it is, you say the reality of it and you say why they want you there,” Campbell explained. And then, you say, ‘Hey man, we’ve got nothing to lose here.’ We go in and have nothing to lose. We cut it, and let’s have the time of our lives and find a way to win the game. After all, I could just appreciate the room and you can feel it. We’re going to be on the big stage, man, and our guys are excited about it. One way or another, we’re going to play one more game. At least we’re playing one more game. It will be on a great stage and everyone will see it. And our guys, one way or another, I think they’re going to embrace it.”

The Lions were not scheduled for any primetime games to start the year, with the Thanksgiving game serving as the only opportunity to play in front of a worldwide audience.

However, the implications of Sunday’s game allowed the NFL to squeeze it into the primetime slot on NBC. Campbell and his team are ready for the challenge and the opportunity that comes with it.

Going 1-6 on national television in the final weekend of the season is an accomplishment the coach sees as very valuable in leading a rebuilding team.

“I just know for us, it means something,” Campbell said. “That we climbed back out of the basement and put ourselves in position to play a more meaningful game before the year ends here. And this is a step in the right direction.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *