With the division still within reach and potentially profound playoff ramifications at stake, the Detroit Lions require no added incentive for their Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Green Bay Packers.
At 10-0, the Packers are the unquestioned and uncontested elite of football. A Lions victory would not only represent an important win in the standings, it would also produce a favorable reading on the elite-team barometer.
However, the Lions aren’t interested in using the Packers as a measuring stick.
“I don’t think we’ve ever used anything as a yardstick or anything else,” said head coach Jim Schwartz. “I mean, that’s not our philosophy. We’re going to do whatever we can to win the game. (With) where we are as a team, we shouldn’t be worried about anything else.”
The Lions may not be interested in comparing themselves to the Packers simply because they already believe they are on the same level. After all, the last loss the Packers suffered in a game where quarterback Aaron Rodgers started was December 12, 2010 against the Lions.
More than 11 months later, the Packers return to Ford Field with an unblemished record and an opportunity for perfection.
If the Packers hope to get to a 16th regular season win they should not lose sight of win number 11.
“I don’t think they should be looking past us,” warned receiver Calvin Johnson. “We put up a good fight with them last year. We took one of them (games). We felt we should have had two but we didn’t, so we split the series with them last year.”
The Packers bid for perfection may be rivaled by the Lions desire to tarnish a thus-far untarnished record.
“It’d be awesome, we kind of feel like they are looking past us,” said defensive end Cliff Avril. “We have to come in and play every week but I think it’d be a great task and a great accomplishment to give them their first loss.”
Linebacker Justin Durant shares his teammate’s enthusiasm.
“You want to be the first team to get that win,” said Durant. “Plus it’s in the division, it’s a tight race in our division. It’s a big game for us and the organization. It’s on a big stage. But every win from here on out will be big.”
The Lions appreciate the importance of this contest and realize the impact it could have on the season.
They also realize the impact it could have on the Packers season.
“The fact that they are 10-0, we are definitely looking forward to put that blemish on them,” said defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill. “We are anxious, real anxious to get out there."
Are the Lions destined for the playoffs?
Join the discussion in The Den, the most active online
Detroit Lions fan community. Go Now!