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O'HARA: Lions pushing reset button to start playoffs

Pushing the reset button sounds like a good way for the Detroit Lions to purge any lingering disappointment over the way they ended their season and make a fresh start in the playoffs.

Scrub the memory cards. Delete the word files.

The Lions are moving on to Seattle to play the Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs Saturday night with the hope that any baggage they take with them won't include memories of Sunday night's bitter loss to the Packers in their showdown at Ford Field.

It's a lot to forget, and a lot to overcome. It kept the Lions from winning their first division title and playing a playoff game at home for the first time since 1993 season.

And maybe they will be better served if they don't forget how their season ended – the three straight losses, in order to the Giants, Cowboys and Packers.

Frankly, I don't think it would be the worst thing in the world if every player, coach and member of the Lions' support staff carried a nagging ache somewhere in their psyche throughout the playoffs, however long the Lions remain alive.

Revenge and the desire for redemption can be motivating forces, and the Lions could be after some of both for the way their season ended.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't prepare for the next game the way they have throughout Jim Caldwell's three seasons as head coach of the Lions. Caldwell has been masterful at keeping his players focused on the task at hand, and not getting sidetracked by outside distractions.

If the Lions beat the Seahawks, it will because of how they prepare and execute their game plan. They won't do it with slogans or the desire to make up for how they ended the season. Whatever they do, win or lose, will be based on how they perform on the field.

One man's opinion: The Lions need to play with an edge if they're going to beat Seattle. They might get it with a look back at the self-inflicted wounds that helped lead to the loss to Green Bay.

That could mean not getting beat on a long sideline pass in the last half minute of the first half that led to a field goal and three critical points for the Packers at a time when the Lions were in control. It also can mean not getting penalized again for failing to get off the field fast enough to avoid a penalty for 12 men on the field that nullified a stop on third down.

Losing to the Packers Sunday night was painful enough, but the Lions were able to move on because they'd clinched a playoff berth before the game started. Even the smallest mistake in the playoffs can end a season, when it's lose and go home. There are no second chances.

This year's Seattle team is not the powerhouse that won a Super Bowl three years ago and lost in the championship game the next year to the New England Patriots. But it's still a team that has been tested in the postseason and performed in a way that the Lions have not.

This is Seattle's fifth straight season making the playoffs, and they've won at least one playoff game in each of the first four years. Russell Wilson has a 7-3 won-loss record as a starting quarterback in the postseason, with 16 touchdown passes against nine interceptions.

The bottom line on Wilson is that the Seahawks have advanced every year they've been in the postseason with him as their starting quarterback. He's given them a chance to win what they ultimately compete for – the Super Bowl.

Caldwell was asked at his Monday press conference what gave him hope that the Lions can advance in the playoffs.

"Hope is not a strategy," he said. "What we do is, we look at what we can do best against these guys and put it together and go after it. You can rattle off a number of different teams that have gone in and perhaps not had the best regular season that you'd like, but ended up getting themselves in position to really be a factor in the playoffs.

"What we want to do is, you've got to shake this thing off rather quickly, and you've got to go after it. That's exactly what we've been trying to preach to these guys."

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