The Lions haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, but coach Jim Schwartz has been paying attention to the teams that have gone to the postseason in recent years.
When asked about resting players for Week 17, Schwartz pointed out the way the 2007 Giants and last year’s Packers played right down to the wire before embarking on runs to Super Bowl titles. It sounds like he’s planning to do the same thing, at least the playing everyone in Week 17 part.
“I think a lot of that starts this week. You look at those teams; it wasn’t just what they did when they got into the playoffs, it’s where they were at the end of the season. . . . You certainly want to go in with momentum. You want to go in with wins, you want to go in healthy. To be in is, obviously, the most important thing. After that, then everybody has a chance.”
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points to defensive tackle Nick Fairley and running back Kevin Smith as players who might benefit from time off next weekend. Whatever Schwartz decides to do in general, he could be planning to limit Smith’s workload. The team signed running back Joique Bell off of New Orleans’ practice squad on Monday.
The Lions still don’t know whether or not they will be the fifth or sixth seed. To move up to fifth, they need to beat Green Bay and have the Falcons lose to either the Saints or the Buccaneers. That’s significant as the sixth seed would mean a trip to New Orleans or San Francisco instead of a game against the NFC East champs, and Schwartz sounds like he’s thinking that’s worth fighting for.