It's only Tuesday and already there has been a lot of talk about what Jim Schwartz and Mike McCarthy will do on Sunday in terms of potentially resting starters. The Packers have homefield advantage already wrapped up, so nothing related to the playoffs is on the line this week for them. For the Lions, the fifth seed in the NFC is on the line, although they have already clinched a playoff spot.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn't sound like Schwartz has any plans to rest his players. Perhaps guys that are banged up will be kept out instead of trying to play through their injuries, but Schwartz wants to beat the Packers and go into the playoffs with some momentum, much like Green Bay did last year.
"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."
Because the Packers are set in stone as the top seed in the NFC, they are much more likely to rest their starters, although McCarthy hasn't made any decisions one way or another just yet. He did say that the Packers intend to "play to win the game," but he added that "health is an issue" for his team. While the Packers are "preparing to win," it doesn't sound like they will risk the health of players who are banged up or are important to their run at another Super Bowl title.
It remains to be seen how exactly McCarthy will go about resting starters if he ultimately decides to go that route, but Schwartz is likely to treat this as a normal game. Considering the Lions can clinch the fifth seed with a win, that is the right way to go about it in my mind. Beating the Packers at Lambeau Field would be a good way to go into the postseason, even if Green Bay is playing a bunch of backups. It's all about building confidence, especially against a team that the Lions could face in the playoffs if they make it out of the wild-card round.