The Detroit Lions weren’t given any primetime games this year from the NFL. But due to their strong play down the stretch, they earned one for the final week of the season. They will now play the Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football” as the last regular season game on the NFL schedule. Sure, the Packers obviously played a huge—some would say overwhelming—role in getting this game flexed to the timeslot, but if Detroit was a team with a horrible record, they likely wouldn’t be in this position.
While most fans and players enjoy the move into the spotlight, this scenario is a little awkward for the Detroit Lions. With all other Week 18 games concluding before the Lions take the field, it’s quite possible Detroit will be eliminated from playoff contention before kickoff. If the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams in the 4:25 p.m. ET slot, the Lions will only be playing to kick the Packers out of the playoffs.
As we found out earlier in the week, players don’t seem to mind this at all. They’re excited for the opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage, and they don’t seem to view the chance to knock the Packers out of the playoffs as a consolation prize; it’s a prize worth of its own praise.
It’s a little more complicated for fans. Undoubtedly, the drama is a little less if the hopes for a playoff spot are off the table. So we asked you guys in our Tuesday Question of the Day what you thought about the move. Here’s what some of you had to say:
waitingsince57 thinks playing on primetime is always worth it, especially for a team this young.
It’s ALWAYS a good thing to have the opportunity to play in a Prime Time game. It’s good for this young team’s growth, for experience in a playoff atmosphere and playing under that kind of pressure. I’m certainly hoping the Seahawks lose just to make it a “win to get in” for both teams but even if it doesn’t play out that way for us, I’m confident this young and hungry team will give it their all. GO LIONS!!!
RomanGalati thinks the NFL is doing the Packers a huge favor, potentially giving them a Lions team unmotivated to win without playoffs on the table:
IMO, the NFL did the Lions a huge disservice, and the Packers a huge favor by flexing the game to Sunday night because [as I’m sure most of you’ll agree] Rams’ realistic chances of beating Seattle @ Seattle are gonna be slim to none, and I just can’t see Campbell being able to motivate the team enough to go out there and bust their behinds - and risk injury - for just pride or even hate.
Son of Sparticus is also buying the Packers conspiracy:
There goes everything the league has said about equality and parity and transparency. This was CLEARLY done due to the popularity of having the Packers in Primetime and maximizing their chances to be in the playoffs. Otherwise, it would be scheduled for a simultaneous kickoff with the Seahawks. Their is no other cognizant argument here.
And Seattle should be the ones most upset. They win and they decrease the odds of the Lions winning. Simple as that.
Poor job, NFL. Your bias is showing.
ATL Lion disagrees, saying coach Dan Campbell will have no problem motivating his team, no matter the stakes:
I don’t understand the people here saying if the Seahawks win then Detroit won’t have anything to play for and the players won’t try. What part of the last two years gives you the impression that these players are choosing which games they try to win? One of the great things about this team is that the players are trying on every down regardless of them having a chance to win or not. Dan’s whole thing is that the players don’t give up. That’s the point of the whole “kneecaps” speech. I don’t think the Lions will play any different if the Seahawks win or lose.
RememberTheTitus agrees that this is good preparation for what is to come: a lot of national attention for this young team:
Yes it’s a good thing. It’s exposure for this young very exciting team. I expect quite a few prime time games next year as the country has embraced this team.
Maybe the Rams pull the upset and make this game extra meaningful. Probably not. But in that case most of the country will be watching to see the Lions try to eliminate the Packers and most of America will probably come away thinking it’s too bad the Lions didn’t get in.
popcornstadium says if this were the old Lions, there’d be reason to hate this. But with new expectations for this franchise, this should be seen as a golden opportunity:
The only way this wouldn’t be good is if you’re worried they’ll get embarrassed in front of a national audience. Not impossible considering it’s already happened a few times this year, but if this team is different from the other wildcard contenders we’ve seen in Detroit over the years then they’ll rise to the occasion.
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