With both teams out of the playoff hunt, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are both preparing for their season finale at Lambeau Field Sunday.
Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers have both talked this week about the importance of continuing to play for their teams, even if it doesn't matter in the standings.
“That it matters,” Rodgers said of the message he sends by playing. “That even when the record isn’t great, you’re not going to the playoffs, that it still matters.”
“I love competing in anything. I don’t want to look back in 20 years and wonder, ‘What if I maybe played that game? Could something special have happened?’
“What would it look like to my teammates if they knew I kind of quit on them? I hope my teammates know I’m not going to quit on them. I’m going to battle through anything I’ve got. They did the same.”
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said the team will prepare like they would for any other week of the season.
“We all want to kind of stick together, pull together and give ourselves a chance to go win,” Patricia said. “I think it’s great. I think that’s what football is, it’s not always easy, it’s a hard game, it’s supposed to be. It teaches a lot of great life lessons and that’s the important part of this game and I think it’s one of the only games that still teaches all of that stuff.
“I think that these are great life lessons right here. When things aren’t necessarily going your way, you go back to work and you work hard and you try to figure it out. I think that’s great.”
Will Patricia consider giving more playing time and experience to younger players on the roster in the final game?
“For us we’re just going to try and do everything through the course of the week to put everyone out there who’ll help us win,” he said. “We’ll continue to try and put everyone out there that we think can help us win this week.”
PREPARING FOR THE PACKERS
Green Bay may look a little different than they did in the Lions' Week 5 victory over the Packers at Ford Field earlier this season. The Packers relieved Mike McCarthy of his head coaching duties earlier this month.
Interim head coach Joe Philbin previously spent time as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, where he became familiar with Patricia from his time as defensive coordinator of the Patriots. Philbin sees some carryover in scheme when watching film on the Lions.
“Absolutely,” Philbin said in a conference-call interview this week. “I think some of the things they do coverage-wise are some of the best. I think those things that they do are and have been doing for a while are cutting edge – if that’s the right term.
“I think they know it. They understand it, and you see on film that they execute it awfully well.”
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Packers injury report and game designations.
- Catch up on all the news from Jim Bob Cooter and Paul Pasqualoni's Friday media sessions.
- See how each year, Matthew and Kelly Stafford sponsor families at Christmas time, but the impact of their generosity extends far beyond the holidays.