In a 16-game season, just about every week is important. When it comes to the end of the year, playoff spots are typically decided by a game or two, and the margin for error in the NFL continues to get slimmer and slimmer. Coaches and players use a lot of cliches when talking about only taking things one game at a time, but there is a lot of logic in this way in thinking.
However, there are always a few games that stand out most on the schedule. Maybe it is against a division rival late in the season. Maybe it is a chance for revenge against the team that ended your season the year before. Maybe it is an opportunity to make a statement to a national audience during a prime time affair.
The Lions’ Week 6 trip to Green Bay certainly has the feel of one of these big games. Detroit has started to turn some heads with a few positive early results, but a loss would send the Lions back to .500. Meanwhile, the Packers are in great shape at 4-1 and are posturing themselves as the top team in the NFC North.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How important is the Packers game for the Lions?
My answer: This is the big one on the schedule. A close matchup with the Chiefs proved that the Lions can hang with anyone, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss. Four games into the year, the Lions seem like they could be legit, but both wins were close contests that could have ended in losses and games against teams without some key players.
Any sort of loss to the Packers moves Detroit down to just 2-2-1 and builds a further gap between themselves and the division leaders. While the wild card will probably stay in play for a while, the Lions would find themselves in a scrum with a whole host of other NFC competitors. This game does not make or break the season, but it can either put the team in great shape or the middle of the pack.
Perhaps more important than how it affects the standings, though, is how this game impacts the perception of the team. There are still plenty of question marks after four games, but after back-to-back challenging contests, we should have a good idea of how strong this team really is. Winning in Green Bay is going to be difficult, but playoff teams are those that find ways to win.