The Detroit Lions have been in sort of a playoff mode for the better part of a month trying to secure a spot in the playoffs. It's all led to Sunday night's matchup with the Green Bay Packers that could mean a spot in the playoffs for the Lions with a win against the Packers and a Seattle loss to the Los Angeles Rams, who play before the Lions at 4:25 p.m.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell has emphasized the magnitude of this game all week, whether Seattle wins or loses ahead of their kickoff at 8:20. This is a young Lions roster with only 15 players currently on the 53 who have playoff experience.
Quarterback Jared Goff is one of those 15. Goff has played in six playoff games in his career and guided the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018.
"I think out of all positions you want your quarterback to have been there and felt that a little bit," Campbell said this week. "Of all of them he needs to make sure that his emotions are always on an even plane and he can think through things like he has all year.
"He's been in some huge games. He's been in the big one, so this won't be anything new to him and I think it does help especially in that position."
Maybe the biggest thing Goff has learned having gone through some of these big games is the biggest difference being the lead up. He said once the whistle blows the next 60 minutes are like anything else.
"There's going to be a lot more questions, a lot more coverage, we're going to be sitting in the hotel all day waiting for that Sunday night game," Goff said. "That's the difference, I think once you get there the gameday it's really the same, you have to treat it the same.
"Sure, late in the game in the fourth quarter there's going to be pressure, but that's the same way in every other game in the fourth quarter. There's no more pressure because the week it is, I think every game is truly the same and you've got to treat it that way."
WORKING IN WILLIAMS
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has been trying to work rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams into the mix more. We saw a receiver screen and a reverse to the speedy rookie on the call sheet last week. Goff threw three passes Williams' way, though they didn't connect on any.
Johnson said Thursday he hoped things would have clicked a little quicker than they have since Williams' return Week 13, but they'll continue to work and keep him involved.
"Yeah, I mean it's each week we're trying to push the envelope a little bit and maybe learn a couple of different routes that he hasn't been taught yet or put him a little different spot," Johnson said. "So, yeah, each week we're trying to do that, and it's just how fast can we get him along, feeling comfortable with it. I hoped it would click just a little bit faster than it has, I think we all have.
"But it takes time sometimes and we're not losing faith, we're going to keep pressing it and it'll end up clicking at some point he'll have a big game and be like, 'OK, that's why. That's why we took him where we took him.' And that's why he can help us so much."
The Lions are playing a lot of youngsters, especially on defense, and with that sometimes comes mistakes. Detroit's played pretty well defensively over the last two months, Carolina being the anomaly.
Campbell said they've talked a lot this week about not letting confusion be part of the storyline for them Sunday night.
"One of the key points for us is we've got to really hone in on this game plan. We've got to know them in and out and no matter what any and all eye candy that can be thrown at us, you don't take the cheese, man," Campbell said. "Just stay true to your rules because that will, that'll be big.
"On offense, communication, we're on the road we're not going to be able to hear, it'll be loud which is always a key when you're on the road as an offense. Those are the big things, so confusion cannot be part of our game plan."