Detroit's loss in Cincinnati last Sunday ended any opportunity for the Lions to participate in the postseason, which leaves the team in a unique position of having to play out the last game of their season with their larger goals unobtainable.
That doesn't mean there still isn't something to play for Sunday vs. Green Bay, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.
"Everybody gets evaluated at the end of the year," he said. "Everybody. Players, coaches, scheme. Everything. That's part of the process."
**What has been the evaluation of this team through 15 games?
View the best stylized photos from the Detroit Lions Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals by team photographer Gavin Smith.
The true evaluation comes at the end of the season when all 16 games are in the books, but Caldwell always says a team is only as good as its record may indicate. An 8-7 record is around average.
"We're probably just a little bit above average," Caldwell said. "And a little bit above average isn't good enough. There are no bowl games in this league. So, we have to get better in every area. It's a team sport. There's not anything that we just absolutely excelled at all across the board."
What is Caldwell looking forward to seeing from his team Sunday at Ford Field?
"The thing is, we have a game left to play," he said. "It's an opportunity for our guys to get better. We only have 16 opportunities and you can't take them for granted."
This is where the term professional really means something when it comes to being a professional football player. The expectation is for this team to go out Sunday in front of their home crowd and perform as if the playoffs were on the line.
"There's no quit or give up in this group," Caldwell said. "And we'd anticipate that'll be exactly the same going into this last game. That's important for us."
Caldwell made the point that there's no guarantees is this league for the next day or the next year, so everyone always has to be at their best, no matter the circumstances.
With the playoffs off the table, would Caldwell give any consideration to resting any starters, possibly even quarterback Matthew Stafford, in order to see more of the young guys?
Good luck getting Stafford to sit out a game he's physically able to play.
There are no plans to sit any starters vs. Green Bay, including Stafford.
"The fact of the matter is we have 16 opportunities and we go play them," Caldwell said.
**Does anything change in the preparation for a Week 17 game with two teams having no prospects of playing beyond that contest?
Last year, this Lions vs. Packers game Week 17 was played with the division title on the line. This year, at least for the Lions, it means the difference between 9-7 and 8-8, but not much beyond that.
"Not for me," Caldwell said. "I think if you've got the right kind of people you don't change your approach that much. You always deal with the psychological portion of it, it's kind of what you do.
"But in terms of playing the game itself, like I said, you only get 16 opportunities and you better take advantage of them. That's what we plan to do. Get ready like we normally do. Get ready and go after it like we want to go after it."
Is Nevin Lawson still in concussion protocol?
Lawson left last week's game in Cincinnati and went straight from the field to the locker room after suffering a concussion on an attempted tackle.
Lawson remains in concussion protocol as of Tuesday afternoon. We'll see if the Lions make a roster move at cornerback with just one game left in the season.
Caldwell said center Travis Swanson also remains in the concussion protocol. He's missed the last two games.