ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz isn’t fretting over circumstances beyond his control.
He said Monday he doesn’t worry if the Green Bay team the Lions will face on Sunday at Lambeau Field will rest key players now that the Packers have clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Schwartz also said he isn’t concerned about possible playoff scenarios for his Lions, who secured their first postseason berth since the 1999 season with a 38-10 victory over San Diego on Saturday.
The Lions are in the running for the No. 5 seed in the NFC, which would mean playing at the winner of Sunday’s game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
“Particularly being a wild card like we are, to get through the NFC, you’re going to have to win three games,” Schwartz said. “All three of those are going to be good teams. The only thing we can do is worry about ourselves and preparing the very best we can this week and not worrying about scenarios or all those other things. They’ll have a team for us to play. We’ll be ready for them.”
Schwartz said the Lions’ preparation for Green Bay won’t be impacted much by the possibility backup quarterback Matt Flynn could start if Aaron Rodgers is kept out of harm’s way.
The Packers played without four injured starters, including offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and Chad Clifton, in a 35-21 victory over Chicago on Sunday night. The Lions haven’t beaten Green Bay on the road since 1991.
“We can’t control who they play or what objectives they have in the game,” Schwartz said. “It doesn’t change our objectives or anything else. Obviously, if we’re preparing for a different quarterback, you need to be ready for that, but their offense isn’t going to change. They are what they are. It’s not like some other situations we’ve seen. You go to Minnesota, another division opponent, you have one quarterback and then a very different skill set in a different quarterback.”
Schwartz gave no indication that the Lions might rest some nicked-up players against Green Bay.
“It’s football,” he said. “We’re going to try to win the game. Any game they put in front of us, we’re going to try our best to win.”
Schwartz dismissed the notion the Lions are happy to merely be in the playoffs after 10 consecutive losing seasons, including 0-16 three years ago. He noted recent history, with three of the last six Super Bowl champions being wild cards.
“There is an advantage to playing at home and getting byes and things like that, but it’s certainly been proven that it can be done,” Schwartz said. “A lot of that starts this week. You look at those teams, it wasn’t just what they did when they got in the playoffs, it’s where they were at the end of the season. Green Bay last year needed to win their last two just to get in.
“That’s why it puts a little bit more importance on games like this. You 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, everybody has a chance.”
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