Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has a message for his players that goes beyond the game plan for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Ford Field has become like a super-sized party pit with sellout crowds for home games. There is sure to be an electric atmosphere Sunday, and Campbell doesn't want his players to get caught up in the atmosphere.
"Stay the course," Campbell said when asked how he wants players to react to the atmosphere.
"This is a big one because it's the next one. Of course there will be things about it. It's every week for us, it helps us out a lot. Fun. It's exciting. A divisional opponent coming to our place.
"We know we'll have a packed house, so the energy will be there. We've done things a certain way for a while now, and gained confidence from it.
"It's all about stay the course, man. There are no shortcuts. No detours."
Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has come to appreciate the fans and their passion in his two seasons in Detroit.
"The fans are going to be awesome," he said. "Detroit -- they have some of the best fans I've been around. I love the energy they bring every week.
"It helps us out a lot."
Vikings preview: The Vikings have some traits that are similar to what the Lions are trying to build, and they show up in the Vikings' 10-2 won-loss record.
The Vikings had a 20-6 lead at halftime over the Jets on Sunday and hung on for a 27-22 win.
The Vikings survived some challenging moments, which is typical of the way they have played under first-year head coach Kevin O'Connell.
"Our guys in that locker room continue to band together when we have to make a play," O'Connell said in his postgame press conference.
"Our guys find a way to complement each other."
The Vikings have Pro Bowl players on offense in quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Dalvin Cook. Za'Darius Smith (9.5) and Danielle Hunter (7) have combined for more than half of the Vikings' 30 sacks.
Offense: Get the lead and keep the pedal down. The Lions didn't do that in their first meeting in Week 3. They had a 24-14 lead with 2:08 left in the third quarter and gave up two TDs in the last 7:50 in a 28-24 loss.
Also, keep running back D’Andre Swift actively in the offense. His presence opens opportunities for others. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson can be even more creative when Swift is rolling.
Defense: Repeat Week 3 when the Lions lost to the Vikings but wide receiver Justin Jefferson was held to six targets and three receptions for 14 yards. Keep pressure on QB Kirk Cousins. He's at his best playing from the pocket. Make him move.
Overall: Make home-field advantage count because that's what Ford Field has become – an advantage for the Lions.
Lions-Vikings pick/look back: Lions favored by 2.5, as of noon Wednesday.
A year ago, the Lions beat the Vikings, 29-27, on Dec. 5 before 45,211 fans at Ford Field. The Vikings finished 6-11, and the Lions were 3-13-1.
Flash forward to 2022, and it's a different scene. The Lions and Vikings are better than their 2021 editions. The Vikings are 10-2 and playing to clinch the NFC North. The Lions are 5-7 and trying to land a wild card spot.
The Lions have played good ball of late, as their 4-1 record in the last five games shows. They have more at stake and the Ford Field fanatics have become a weapon.
My pick: Lions 30, Vikings 16.