Lions Dan Campbell on Packers game: ‘Let’s have the time of our life and find a way to win’

Lions coach Dan Campbell

ALLEN PARK — Often coaches won’t buy in — at least publicly — that one game in the 17-game NFL season is bigger than any other.

Lions coach Dan Campbell stands apart. Instead of just another week, he is pounding home the importance of the Lions’ Sunday night matchup at Green Bay. After all, it is not just another week.

A win over the Packers (8-8), along with a Rams win over the Seahawks, gets Detroit (8-8) a wild-card playoff berth. From a 1-6 record to the playoffs is quite a storyline and is one reason the NFL flexed the schedule to put the Lions on the national stage for just the second time all season and in prime time for the first time.

The Lions will know at their kickoff if the Rams won. If the Seahawks win, the Lions can play spoiler and knock the Packers out of the playoffs.

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown doesn’t foresee a letdown if Seattle wins.

“I think for us whether Seattle wins or not, for me personally I want to have a winning season, last year we only won three games, to have a winning season is huge for this organization as a whole, for this team moving forward,’’ St. Brown said. “Whether we’re winning to go to the playoffs or winning to not let the Packers make the playoffs, either one is huge for us. We want a winning record at the end of the season.’’

A win would give the Lions a 9-8 record after going 3-12-1 last season 

“Our guys one way or another, I think they’re going to embrace it, I really do, no matter what happens,’’ Campbell said.

The coach’s message to the team was basically to enjoy it.

“You say what it is, you say the reality of it, you say the reason why, that’s where they want you at. Then you say, ‘Hey man, we’ve got nothing to lose. We go in, we’ve got nothing to lose, we cut it loose. Let’s have the time of our life and let’s find a way to win this game,’’ Campbell said. “The bottom line is I can just gauge the room and you can feel it. We get to be on the big stage and our guys are excited about that …’’

Quarterback Jared Goff has been through the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl with the Rams. But he also lived through Campbell’s first season last year.

“It’s big man, it’s really big. We’re excited for it,’’ Goff said. “It’s something we’ve earned, we’re playing for a playoff spot, we’ve been through a lot this year.‘’

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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