If the Detroit Lions lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, there’s only one scenario that allows them to make the postseason: If the New York Giants win or tie against Washington in Week 17. Unfortunately for Detroit, the Giants do not have anything to play for, while Washington is fighting for their playoff lives.
New York is in a situation where they’ve already clinched a playoff spot and cannot move from their current five-seed, no matter what else happens. Washington, on the other hand, is basically in a “win-and-you’re-in” situation. The only way they don’t get in with a win on Sunday is if Detroit and Green Bay tie.
But there is hope for the Lions, because according to Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, the New York is going to treat this as any other game. “We're going to play to win the ball game,” McAdoo said in his Wednesday press conference. When asked to clarify if that meant playing starters for the entire game, McAdoo confirmed, “the starters are going to play. I don’t know any other way to do it.”
Running back Rashad Jennings said the same thing after Tuesday’s practice. “Everyone is going to play Sunday,” Jennings told ESPN.
There has been growing concern among fans and media about playing starters after Week 16 saw Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr go down with a season ending injury after the Raiders had already clinched a playoff spot. But that hasn’t seemed to affect any team in their preparation. As we saw on Monday night, the Cowboys went full force against the Lions despite having home-field advantage wrapped up prior to the game.
Whether it’s the right or wrong call, the Lions could very well get the help they need from the Giants on Sunday. However, it is a rivalry division game that is being played in Washington, so it will be no easy task for the Giants.