The quickest path to the playoffs is through the division, something the Lions are well aware of as they begin a two-game stretch of NFC North games in the next five days, starting with the Bears Sunday at Soldier Field.
"It's a whole lot of fun," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "It's a lot of fun playing division opponents late in the season. On the road – all that. I enjoy all that.
"To get up and prepare for the games when you've got all that riding on it. We're going to take this game just like every other one, but we know it's important because it's the next one."
The Lions might be a little extra motivated in Chicago this year, based on their previous poor performance in the Windy city the last time around.
"Not a fun one to watch," Stafford said Wednesday of the game tape from last year's game in Chicago. "We played about as poorly as we can play. Their defense played well, we didn't execute really at any position at a good enough level to probably win the game, so it's a motivating factor looking at that tape."
Sunday's game in Chicago will be the Lions' third and final division game on the road this year. The three remaining NFC North matchups vs. the Vikings (November 23 -- Thanksgiving), Bears (December 16) and Packers (December 31) will be at home in Ford Field.
BRING ON THE BEARS
The Lions will get their first live look at Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this week. Trubisky took over for Mike Glennon earlier in the season after turnovers got the best of Glennon.
Take a look at five key matchups for the Lions-Bears game Sunday at Soldier Field.
"I think they had a plan in place for when they wanted to put me in, if and when I was ready," Trubisky said Wednesday in a conference-call interview with the Detroit media. "I felt like I was ready at the beginning of the season. I continued to stick with the plan."
If what Trubisky's seen so far is any indication, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin could have some coverage tricks up his sleeve for the rookie QB this week.
"Defensive coordinators are probably going to try to mess with you more than the veteran quarterbacks," Trubisky said. "So far, every defensive coordinator has played us different than what they showed other teams."
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Bears, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- Guard T.J. Lang had not one, but two guests on Talkin' with T.J. this week. Watch the latest episode featuring guard Graham Glasgow and center Travis Swanson.
- Catch up on all the news from Teryl Austin's and Jim Bob Cooter's Thursday press conferences.
- Get an inside look into the gameday experience with Matthew Stafford mic'd up during last week's game against the Browns.
- You asked. Now watch defensive end Anthony Zettel answer your fan-submitted questions in this week's #AskALion.