ALLEN PARK — With a playoff berth a definite possibility, the Lions will play two of their last three games on the road. On Saturday they’re at Carolina Panthers, then home to the Bears on Jan. 1 and finishing the regular season at Green Bay on Jan. 7 or 8.
After winning three straight away from Ford Field, winning on the road doesn’t seem to be a major factor moving forward.
The Lions have won at Chicago, at the New York Giants and on Sunday at the New York Jets. The win over the Bears was the first road win since Dan Campbell took over as coach.
So what’s the deal? This team is maturing and gaining confidence across the board. They’re well prepared at home or on the road.
When Campbell was asked about the road success on Monday he had to take a minute to come up with an answer.
“Look I think I go back the hardest thing for the offense is to be able to function with a silent cadence. It’s easy to say if you’re really disciplined on what you do and you get an environment and crowd noise and momentum, that will shift to the home team at some point but if you’re very disciplined you can work your way out of it,’’ Campbell said. “We’ve done a good job of it, we don’t let the momentum go so far the other way that we can’t swing it back in our favor. In some of the most critical moments we’re making the play to finish it out.’’
That is the key to winning six of their last seven. In those last three road wins the Lions were either tied at the half (Bears, Jets) up had the lead. At the Giants they were up 17-6 at halftime.
At 7-7, the Lions are 3-3 on the road and 4-4 at Ford Field.
Quote of the day: Campbell was asked about the progression of rookie Aidan Hutchinson. He had plenty to say, ending with this: “He’s got a knack for trying to punch at balls – footballs that is. He does everything. It’s not just one thing it’s the totality of it, he does everything and has gotten that much better,’’ said Campbell without hesitating after the ‘balls’ comment even when the media laughed.
Elliott status uncertain: DaShon Elliott injured his shoulder midway through the third quarter on Sunday and didn’t return. His shoulder was still tender and he was having testing done on Monday. Campbell said he expected to know more later in the day. If he can’t go on Saturday at the Panthers, it’s likely C.J. Moore or Ifeatu Melifonwu will get the nod.
“C.J. has served in that role. We’ll look at him, we have Iffy as well. It will be the combination of who gives the best opportunity on defense but also on special teams and the team in general. Let’s put our guys in positions that are going to help us the most,’’ Campbell said.
(Up next: Lions at Panthers (5-9), 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 24)