The media posed that question to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz earlier this week and Schwartz answered the question exactly like he should have. He said every week is a big game in the NFL when you only have 16 of them.
“I mean, you can say that,” Lions receiver
Tonight’s matchup in Candlestick Park isn’t just another game because this is the NFC’s elite we’re talking about. The 49ers were 13-3 last season and a couple muffed punts away from the Super Bowl. They’ve already sent an early statement to the rest of the league when they went into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers last week. Most people consider them the favorites in the NFC.
Schwartz and Lions general manager Martin Mayhew have done a great job building this roster to be good for a long time. All the pieces seem to be in place to be a consistent winner -- and by that I mean quarterback
Detroit won all the games they should have won last season, which is the sign of a good team. But they can’t be considered among the NFC’s elite teams until they show they can beat one of them; not just keep it close and make a game of it, but beat them.
That’s why tonight is a big game. Is it the end of the world if they lose tonight on the road to a very good opponent? Of course not.
“I mean it’s a big game and people are talking and we certainly are excited to play,” Schwartz said this week. “But we still have 14 games after this one. Whether we win the game or lose the game, we’re playing next week.”
Schwartz is right again, but I’m guessing this Lions team stands a little bit taller on Monday after a victory over the 49ers than they did last week after beating the Rams.
That is why tonight isn’t just another game.