It may be only 1-of-16, but it's still a big game

Posted Nov 6, 2013

Even head coach Jim Schwartz allowed himself to admit that a win this week would be significant in the playoff picture

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz jokes all the time that not much matters to him unless it is the determining factor in some kind of tiebreaker scenario. It's one of his go-to comebacks with the media.

Well, Sunday's game in Chicago has some pretty significant tiebreaking scenarios attached to it. The Lions can sweep the season series with the Bears with head-to-head matchup being a substantial tiebreaker scenario for the post season.

That makes Sunday's game a little more important in Schwartz's book.

"I'm famous for saying I don't really care about things that aren't tiebreakers, well, guess what, division record is a tiebreaker," Schwartz said to a few laughs by the media assembled after practice. "Those are all important things for us. We want our players to feel that urgency."

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh feels it.

"The race is on," Suh said after practice. "We have an opportunity because we're still in the race. We have an opportunity to play both (Chicago and Green Bay) in the next four weeks.

"First and foremost, Chicago is the most important since it's our next game. That's a way we can get two games up on them and take the lead ... and continue to just take care of business. It's in our hands. It's an opportunity to take advantage of."

Lions running back Reggie Bush said one of the goals set by the team at the beginning of the season was to win the NFC North. They can take a big leap forward in accomplishing that in Chicago.

"Division games are always big," Bush said. "(Sunday) is another big division game for us. It's wide open. We still have a chance to do some special things, but, obviously, it's going to start with this game and our focus has to be on this game and this game only."

Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall deflected the importance of Sunday's game against Detroit when asked about the matchup in a conference call with local reporters Wednesday.

"I think it is kind of ridiculous to not do that," Marshall said about placing more importance on a division game.

"This is another week. Yes it is a divisional game, yes you can say it is a rivalry game, but at the same time every week is important in the National Football League.

"If you get caught up and say 'Ok let's turn up this week or we are playing the Lions and they beat us last time we played, let's turn it up a notch' then you're not playing to your full potential."

Lions receiver Nate Burleson isn't buying it, though.

"That's a veteran move," Burleson said when asked about Marshall's comments. "But realistically, we get this win and we're in a good spot."

A first-place spot, actually.

A win and the Lions will continue to hang onto first place in the NFC North and remain in the driver's seat to the playoffs.

Sunday is only the ninth game for the Lions out of an eventual 16, but everyone on this side of the rivalry seems to sense how important the game really is.