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O'HARA'S WILD CARD PREVIEW: Campbell wants Lions to stay true to what got them here

It isn't being on the big stage to start the Detroit Lions' playoff run that worries head coach Dan Campbell.

He's not concerned about them being ready for the moment.

"I know we are," Campbell said. "I'm not worried about the stage ... all those things. We've dealt with that for a while now. I feel like we're prepared for that."

Campbell has a narrow focus on Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field.

"It's going to come down to all the same things it does in every game for us, it's going to be the fundamentals," Campbell said.

"Just stay true to what we've done and what's gotten us to this point. We've won 12 games for a reason. We're where we are at for a reason. Let's do it again."

The Lions-Rams matchup is one of the most compelling in the Wild Card round of playoffs because of the two quarterbacks.

The Lions' Jared Goff, and the Rams' Matthew Stafford were traded for each other in 2021 when Stafford requested a trade from the Lions.

Stafford had immediate success as the Rams won the Super Bowl in his first year of the trade.

Goff joined a team that was rebuilding. The Lions made the playoffs and won the NFC North title in his third year with a 12-5 record.

The Lions have built a strong roster through the draft and free agency, and Goff is a strong part of that rebuild.

"I like our matchups," Campbell said. "I love our o-line. We've seen a lot of good defenses this year. We've faced a lot of good guys, a lot of good fronts.

"This will be a big challenge. Our guys accept it and it's the strength of our team."

A look at the Rams:

Rising star: The Rams unveiled another star receiver this season to go with Cooper Kupp.

Puka Nacua set two records for rookie receivers – 105 receptions, and 1,486 yards. Nacua, who is 6-2, 205 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick from BYU.

"For him to be able to break both of those records, it's such a credit to this team and also his consistency and his body of work over a 17-game season," Rams head coach Sean McVay said this week.

Streakers: The Rams seemed destined to miss the playoffs for a second straight season when a three-game losing streak dropped their won-loss record to 3-6.

That's when they hit a hot streak, winning seven of their last eight games. The only loss in that streak was to the Ravens in overtime when the Rams had evened their record at 6-6.

The Rams rallied from the overtime loss to win their last four games and finish the regular season at 10-7 and qualify for the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed.

Go-to threat: Kupp is still one of Matthew Stafford's key targets, but not at the level of the Rams' 2021 Super Bowl season when he caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 TDs.

Lions' keys:

Offense: Someone has to pick up the slack if tight end Sam LaPorta is unable to play because of a knee injury, or if he's at less than full strength.

Defense: Another big game from Aidan Hutchinson. He had five sacks in the last two games. The Lions' future defensive leader has arrived.

Overall: Play a smart, clean game. Don't give the Rams any help.

Lions-Rams prediction:

The Lions did not stumble into the playoffs. They won three of their last four games, and that loss was to the Cowboys by a point.

This is a good Lions team that did some good things in the regular season. It is time to do one more good thing – win a playoff game. The Lions are favored by 3.5 points.

My pick: Lions 33, Rams 27

Who ya got?

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